We hit 70 degrees today! Yippee! It was the first day since perhaps September when we didn’t need to wear at least a sweatshirt to go outside. It was sunny all day, no clouds, and the warmth felt wonderful. It was also St. George’s Day.
St. George is the patron saint of England and today it is celebrated across the country. Isn’t it amazing to think that a country has a patron saint that everyone can name and is happy to celebrate. I recently watched a game show on TV that asked who were the patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, and all of the contestants knew the answer!
Who was St. George and why is he the patron saint? St. George was a Roman soldier who protested against the 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. As the Crusaders returned to England from foreign shores, they brought with them tales of St. George, and his reputation grew. One of the best-known stories about St. George is his fight with a dragon. 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. His emblem is a red cross on a white background. It 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.
In recent years the popularity of St. George’s Day as been increasing and it soon may be a national holiday. Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, encourages the celebration of St. George’s Day with anything English from Morris dancing and medieval jousting to Punch and Judy shows. A traditional custom on St. George’s day is to wear a red rose. Another custom is to fly the St. George’s Cross flag in some way; pubs in particular can be seen decorated with garlands of St. George’s crosses. It is a day to show pride in being British.