St. George's Day is celebrated annually on April 23rd, and commemorates the patron saint of England.
St. George is hailed as a national hero but he was born in Cappadocia, an area in modern-day Turkey, in the third century AD. He served as a Roman soldier and was beheaded for refusing to renounce his Christian faith under Emperor Diocletian's persecution.
Stories of his strength and courage spread throughout Europe and were embellished during the Middle Ages. No social media then, so legends were created as the stories were passed from mouth to mouth.
The Legend of St. George and The Dragon According to the legend, a dragon was terrorising a city, and the only way to appease it was to sacrifice a young maiden every day. When St. George arrived in the city, he offered to fight the dragon if the people of the city would convert to Christianity. The people agreed, and St. George put on his armour and mounted his horse, charging towards the dragon. He fought the dragon with his sword, but it was no use; the dragon's scales were too thick. St. George then decided to try a different tactic. He rode his horse around the dragon, distracting it and making it dizzy. In a moment of weakness, St. George thrust his sword into the dragon's chest, killing it, saving the city and the young maiden.
How Did He Become the patron saint of England? St. George was declared a saint in AD 494 by Pope Gelasius. But it was not until 1350 that St. George became the patron saint of England. King Edward III chose St. George as the country’s patron saint, as St. George was associated with courage, chivalry and the triumph of good over evil.
King Edward also created the Order of the Garter, which is the highest order of chivalry. The badge representing the order shows St. George on horseback slaying a dragon.
Following the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, St. George's Day became one of the most important feast days of the English calendar.
Did You Know? St. George is Celebrated Not Just in England St. George is truly international, as England shares the patron saint with Venice, Genoa, Portugal, Ethiopia and Catalonia among others. Each of these places has its own celebrations and ceremonies in his honour.
Celebrating St. George's Day Wild Knight Vodka “slays” the dragonfruit in our cocktail specially created to mark St. George’s Day - The Dragonslayer!
Visit English Heritage To find out what's on this St George's Day, visit the English Heritage website. and discover the most action-packed St George’s Day event in the country.