Friday, April 23, 2010

St George's Day 23rd April

St George's Day 23rd April
I was taken by surprise when I was asked recently why are we celebrating St George's Day? So rather than me stand on my soap box giving my version of events, I reproduce the information from St George's Day and LTH Hotels tourist information so that anyone not understanding why we celebrate the 23rd April every year in England will see the historical and cultural relevance. This day is in effect a proud day for English people.

St George is the patron saint of England. Saint George is celebrated on St. George's day which falls on 23 April every year. To celebrate St George's Day is to celebrate England itself: The history, culture and heritage that has created our nation. Patron saints are chosen as special protectors of life and culture. They're also a great excuse to have some fun!

Like England, every country in the UK has its own patron saint that in times of great threat is called upon to help save the country from its enemies. Legend says St George was a dragon-slaying knight and he was made patron saint of England in recognition of his great acts. St George is also a popular figure outside England in the countries: Portugal, Catalonia, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Macedonia and the Gora. His symbol, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George's symbol was originally adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century.

Very little is known about the real St George. He is thought to have been born into a noble Christian family in the late third century in Turkey. He followed in his father's military footsteps and became part of the retinue of the Emperor Diocletian. St George was a brave soldier in the Roman army who died for his beliefs. The emperor ordered the systematic persecution of Christians and George protested against the Romans' torture of Christians. For that he left the Roman army. For leaving, he was tortured, executed in Palestine, and finally beheaded, becoming an early Christian martyr in 303.

St George was also adopted as the Saint of Battles. This was not only he was a soldier, but also because he is said to have appeared to the Christian army before the Battle of Antioch.

According to the legend, later created about Saint George, a dragon is terrorising the villages near Silena, in Libya, making its home in a nearby swamp. Its fiery breath caused destruction whenever it went near the city, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger and to keep the peace. When the sheep disastrous, he demands the sacrifice of a beautiful maiden and when all the young girls have been killed, The King's daughter alone remains for the dragon. The Princess was taken to the swamp. St. George was riding by on his horse, and heard about this story, he was determined to try and save the princess, so the good knight stayed, and when the dragon appeared, St. George bravely attacked it. He kills the dragon with a single blow from his lance and the people were all converted to Christianity. He left the city telling the King to take good care of the churches, and to be kind to the poor.

On the 23rd April 2010 in England celebrating National Day will include a big parade through high streets with floats, music and dancing to attend a special St George's Day service at their local church. By tradition, April 23rd is the day for a red rose in the button hole, the national flower. Shakespeare's birthday falls on the same date, and the Globe Theatre will be having its usual big celebrations. There will be stalls and entertainment at the theatre, and the chance to get onto the stage and deliver a few lines. This event gets bigger every year, with pubs and private homes a riot of red and white bunting on the day. Alongside all the official celebrations, there will be parties going on at various London venues.

Thanks to St Georges Day website and tourist information from LTH Hotels for the images and historical review of St George's history.

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