St. George’s Day’ or ‘the Feast of Saint George’ is celebrated by many Christian churches and also by many countries and cities as a feast day of Saint George. These countries and cities celebrate the life of St. George as their patron saint. It is celebrated on 23rd of April, which is widely accepted as the day of his death in the Diocletianic Persecution, or Great Persecution, of 303 AD. Now let us look at some fascinating facts about this holiday and the saint himself that you probably did not know!

  1. This holiday is celebrated widely in many English countries but it is thought that St. George was a soldier in the eastern Roman Empire, in what is present-day Turkey. He was not even English nor did he ever set foot on English soil.

 

  1. Due to a similarity of an Anglo-Saxon legend to a story in The Golden Legend about slaying a dragon and saving a princess, St. George was adopted in England. But this is not true as dragons do not exist!

 

  1. He was killed by his pagan leader, Emperor Diocletian (245-313 AD), for resigning his military post and for not giving up his Christian faith. This emperor is famous for his persecution of Christians in Rome.

 

  1. Emperor Diocletian’s wife also suffered the same fate as St. George after she was inspired by him and decided to change her faith from paganism to Christianity.

  1. George was made the patron saint of England by Edward III when he founded the Order of the Knights in 1350.

 

  1. The date of St. George’s day can be changed if the date falls too close to Easter. It was moved to 2nd May in 2011 and to 28th April in 2014.

 

  1. The country of Georgia is named after St. George.

 

  1. The flag of England is derived from the Saint George Cross and is also used in common Union flag in the UK.

 

  1. Other than England, St. George is also the Patron Saint of other countries like Aragon, Catalonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, and Russia.

 

  1. George was also known as the Our Lady’s Knight in medieval England. He was considered to be the quintessential knight as the patron of crusading. The name comes from the service given to the Blessed Mary Virgin.
  1. The day 23rd April coincidentally falls on the same day as the death of master English playwright William Shakespeare. The day was declared as the International Day of the Book by UNESCO.

 

  1. King Edward VI mocked the tale of St. George calling it highly improbable. But his legend lives on because of poets like Edmund Spenser who romanticized and nationalized the story. The appeal of St. George lives even today, celebrating the day with traditions like Morris Dancing and watching a Punch and Judy puppet show.