If the significance of today has passed you by, you are probably not alone. Tuesday April 23rd is Saint George’s Day, but you will be hard pressed to find anyone celebrating it!
Quite why we don’t celebrate Saint George’s Day is a bit of a mystery, considering our nation’s love of pageantry and tradition. You only have to look back to last year’s Jubilee and Olympics to see evidence of the pride that exists in this country, for all things English. And come football and rugby tournaments, the flag of St. George will be flying high everywhere you go. Strange then that today will be virtually overlooked.
Perhaps the lack of a public holiday to mark the day means that people are not given the time to celebrate, or maybe it’s because of a lack of hype by the media. It could even be a sign of the times, whereby in our politically correct world we cannot be seen to be too patriotic, in fear offending certain divisions in society? Which ultimately is a shame because despite all the problems we have in this country, the freedoms and benefits we all enjoy deserve to be recognised, and indeed celebrated.
But who exactly was Saint George, and why is he our patron? Here are some interesting facts about Saint George’s Day that you use down the pub to impress your mates.
1. Saint George is considered a martyr in Islam as well as Christianity. Legend has it that St George was a brave and honourable Roman soldier who protested against the Roman’s torture of Christians, and ultimately died for his beliefs.
2. It is highly unlikely that the real Saint George ever actually visited England. He was probably Turkish, and lived in the 3rd Century.
3. Saint George’s emblem of a red cross on a white background was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century.
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4. Before the cult of St. George was brought back from the Crusades, the top choice for England’s patron saint was Edmund the Martyr, a member of one of East Anglia’s ruling family. Charmingly Edmund is also the patron saint of pandemics, torture victims, and wolves.
5. Saint George is also the patron saint of Lithuania, Portugal, Bulgaria and Greece, as well as cities including Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice. Interestingly despite the historic rivalry he is also the patron saint of Germany.
6. Pretty gruesome, but Saint George is believed to have been tortured. He would have been crushed between two spiked wheels and boiled in molten lead. According to legend, neither method killed him.
7. It is estimated that only one in five people know that St George’s Day falls on April 23, with a quarter of people not knowing that the day marks the ‘recognised’ date of Saint George’s death.
8. Those with beady eyes will notice that the bonnet of the Queen’s Rolls Royce bears a figure of St George and the dragon instead of the standard ‘spirit of ecstasy’.
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9. Many people continue to campaign for the first British martyr, Saint Alban to be the patron saint of England instead of George. Unfortunately for Saint Alban, he has no romantic mythology of defeating dragons or rescuing fair maidens.
10. Interestingly William Shakespeare was born on Saint George’s Day in 1564 and died on the same day in 1616.
And don’t worry it’s not too late to have your own celebrations. Check out the Eating out discounts and printable vouchers available from MyVoucherCodes. Whether it a takeaway pizza or restaurant meal for two, you will be sure to find something that appeals!
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