Saint Georges Day - Who Was Englands Patron Saint?
23 Apr 2022
Saint George’s Day (April 23) is England’s official holiday, celebrated on the date of St. George's death in 303 AD.
Who Was Saint George?
Saint George, a soldier from Cappadocian Greek (Central Turkey), was a member of the Praetorian Guard for the Roman emperor Diocletian. Honoured as a military saint since the Crusades, he is a highly respected saint and martyr in Christianity.
Saint George’s Day first became established during the Tudor period, when Saint George’s popularity was high during the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War.
How Is Saint George’s Day Celebrated?
In the early 15th Century, Saint George’s Day was a major feast and national holiday in England. Celebrations were so grand they were on a similar scale to Christmas. Over time, however, celebrations decreased, mainly towards the end of the 18th Century after the union of England and Scotland.
Celebrations still take place today, although on a smaller scale. These include pageants, eating traditional English food, Mummers’ plays, Morris dancing, Punch and Judy shows, and flying the Saint George’s Cross.
Though it has been campaigned for, Saint George’s Day is not yet a public holiday in England.
Saint George and the Dragon
The legendary story of Saint George and the Dragon describes the saint taming and slaying a dragon that requires human sacrifices. It results in him rescuing a princess and saving her from being sacrificed.
Georgian text written in the 11th Century is the earliest record of Saint George slaying a dragon, which spread through the 12th Century via the crusades. The legend became popular in the 13th Century due to Latin adaptions and its courtly setting of romantic chivalry.
English nationalists use the national flag of England, the Saint George’s Cross.
Far-right English nationalists initially used the flag, such as the British National Party (BNP) (founded in 1982) and, more recently, the English Defence League (EDL) (founded in 2009).
The flags association with far-right nationalism has dropped due to the widespread use of the flag at sporting events, mainly during the 1990s. Today, the flag of Saint George, is flown across the country, in private, public, and by local authorities.
The association between far-right nationalism and the Saint George’s Cross can make celebrating Saint George’s Day difficult. However, the more distance between far-right nationalism, the Saint George’s Cross and Saint George’s Day, the less this is an issue.
The Saint George’s Day / Leydon Lettings logo
The Leydon Lettings logo symbolises the flag of Saint George.
Saint George’s flag is a red cross on a white background, similar to Saint David’s flag.
The Leydon logo also occupies the canton space on the flag – the top hoist corner.
The canton space on a flag often shows affiliation or unity to the country or organisation occupying it.
Common Wealth countries' flags – such as Australia and New Zealand – often have the Union Jack occupying their flags' canton space.
“I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips, Straining upon the start. The game’s afoot; Follow your spirit: and upon this charge, Cry — God for Harry! England and Saint George!”
― William Shakespeare
However you’re celebrating, whoever you’re celebrating with, we hope you have a happy Saint George’s Day!