Today we celebrate St George’s day. St George is the patron saint for England after slaying a dragon! Join us from 3pm at Coventry Cross, The Burges, Coventry City Centre as we celebrate with some great music from the Hillz team.
St George & The Dragon
The medieval legend of St George and the dragon is over a thousand years old. The tale goes that the dragon made it’s nest by the fresh water spring near the town of Silene in Libya. When people came to collect water, they inadvertently disturbed the dragon and so offered sheep as a distraction.
After time, there were simply no sheep left to offer the dragon and so the people of Silene decided to chose a maiden from the town by drawing lots. When the results were read, it was revealed that the princess was to be the dragon’s next victim. Despite the Monarch’s protest his daughter Cleolinda was offered to the dragon…
However, at the moment of offering, a knight from the Crusades came riding by on his white stallion. St George dismounted and drew his sword, protecting himself with the sign of the cross. He fought the dragon on foot and managed to slay the beast and saved the princess. The people of Silene were exceptionally grateful and abandoned their pagan beliefs to convert to Christianity.
The History of St George’s Day
- In 1222 the Council of Oxford declared April 23rd to be St George’s Day
- It was not until 1348 that St George became the Patron Saint of England
- In 1415, St George’s Day was declared a national feast day and holiday in England
- However, after the union with Scotland at the end of the 18th Century, the tradition diminished and since has not been widely acknowledged and is no longer a national holiday
- Traditional customs were to fly the St George’s flag and wear a red rose in one’s lapel
- The hymn ‘Jerusalem’ was also sung on the 23rd April, or the nearest Sunday to that date, in churches across the nation
The 23 April 1616 was also the date of the death of the English playwright William Shakespeare. UNESCO marked this historic date by declaring it the International Day of the Book.