St. George's Day is on 23 April. It is England's national day.
St. George is the patron saint of England. His emblem, a red cross on a white background, is the flag of England, and part of the British flag. St George's emblem was adopted by Richard The Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The king's soldiers wore it on their tunics to avoid confusion in battle.
St George's Emblem
The Flag of England
A symbol of England
Like England, every country in the UK has its own patron saint who in times of great peril is called upon to help save the country from its enemies.
St George was a brave Roman soldier who protested against the Romans' torture of Christians and died for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England stems from the time of the early Crusades when it is said that the Normans saw him in a vision and were victorious.
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One of the best-known stories about Saint George is his fight with a dragon. But it is highly unlikely that he ever fought a dragon, and even more unlikely that he ever actually visited England. Despite this, St George is known throughout the world as the dragon-slaying patron saint of England.
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St George is always depicted as a knight carrying a shield with a red cross (or a banner with a red cross), generally sitting upon a horse and always killing a dragon.
Pictures of St George
On the Sunday nearest to 23 April, scouts and guides throughout England parade through high streets and attend a special St George's Day service at their local church.
Sevenoaks District St Georges Day Parade
By tradition, 23 April is the day for a red rose in the button hole, the national flower. However, unlike other countries, England does not celebrate it like Americans celebrate 4 July with fireworks. In fact, you are more likely to see big St Patrick parades in England celebrating Ireland's National Day, more than you would see any sign of St Georges Day being celebrated.
For most people in England St George's Day is just another ordinary working day.
- Despite the fact that St. George has been the patron saint of England since the 14th century, only one in five people know that St. George’s Day falls on 23 April.
- More than a quarter of people living in England do not even know who their patron saint is!
- Shakespeare was born on 23 April 1564 and he died on the same day in 1616.
St. George frequently appears in Mummers' Plays during Easter and Christmas celebrations. Mummers' Plays have been performed in Britain for hundreds of years. They are folk dramas based on the legend of St. George and the Seven Champions of Christendom.