St Georges Day
By tradition, 23rd April is officially St. Georges Day and ideally those that participate should infact be wearing a simple red rose, our national flower, in their buttonhole. In March we reported on the town’s celebrations for St.Patricks Day, but for fear of regurgitating old news we know that England does not celebrate it’s saints day with the same passion shown by the Irish, or even the Americans, celebrating the 4th July with fireworks and parties.
That said, Knutsford came out to support the parade, and all of it’s patronage, with cheers and applause from one end of the town to the other. The paraders were tracked by an eager army of parental photographers, vigourasly snapping away. It is strange why we have adopted this Saint as our own when in fact his purity for England is somewhat diluted as his allegiance also sits with other countries.
St.George is also the patron saint of Lithuania and Portugal, as well as huge St.Georges day celebrations is Catalonia, celebrated with red roses, fireworks and enormous parties. in numerous countries St.Georges Day is seen as the very beginning of summer and, rather oddly, St.George is also a symbol of fertility.
You might ask where the flag comes from, the red cross set against the white background is a symbol of his martyrdom. As far back as Richard the 1st it was used as the basis for the uniform of all english soliders and later, around the the end of the thirteenth century, it became England’s flag, incorporated into the Union Flag after the 1707 Act of Union. The english flag has made a resurgance over past twenty years and is often seen more prominently being waved furiously at sporting venues.
All about St.George
There is much written about St. George, although not all articles and sources are in agreement or wholly accurate. He is believed to have been born in Turkey in the third century, to Christian parents. He later went on to serve as a soldier during the reign of Dioceitian (Roman Emperor 245-313 AD), after he and his mother moved to Palestine following the death of his father. George challenged the emperor’s treatment of Christians, which led to his imprisonment and torture. Even after excessive torture, George refused to deny his religion, and so he was eventually beheaded at Lydda in Palestine.
The route from roman soldier to patron saint was not simple or swift, rather that he was initially granted a minor religious feast day by the Oxford synod in 1222, it wasn’t until the end of the 14th century that he was named as our patron saint. in 1415, the status of St. George’s Day was elevated when Archbishop Chichele ordered for the day to be observed in the same manner as Christmas Day.
In addition, St. George is also the patron saint of Scouting, and another famous englishman, Wiliam Shakespeare was both born and died on this day – albeit several years apart.