St. Georges Day

St. George is the patron saint of England. The 23rd April was named as St. George’s day in 1222, he has always been incredibly popular character although perhaps has been slightly forgotten over the years. He is patron saint not only of England but also of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany and Greece; and of Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark).

St. George is best known for slaying a dragon to save a fair maiden although there is no concrete evidence so it is believed that it is a myth, a story told to illustrate St. George’s greatness. There is however evidence that St George was a true martyr who suffered greatly in Lydda before the time of Constaintine. He was an officer in the Roman army; he gave all his possessions away to the poor at the start of the persecution and then confessed to his Christian faith. He refused to sacrifice to the gods and because of this he suffered horrific torture lasting for around 7 years until he was eventually beheaded.

It is a little unclear as to how St. George became patron saint of England. He has been recognised here from around the eight century.

In 1348, King Edward III introduced the battle cry “St. George for England” and later founded the Order of the Garter, with St. George as its patron. He’s popularly identified with England and English ideals of honour, bravery and gallantry – but actually he wasn’t English at all. He’s also patron saint of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, and he helps those suffering from leprosy, plague and syphilis. In recent years he has been adopted as patron saint of Scouts as well.

It is traditional to wear a red rose in your button hole on St. Georges Day in England. The celebration of St. Georges Day has become more popular in recent years with many promotions and parades going on throughout England.

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