Tomorrow is St. George’s Day and here at VALKYRIE (GB) LIMITED, we like to celebrate our patron saint. St. George’s Day used to be a national holiday in England. It is now an observance that is celebrated with parades, dancing and other activities. Flags with the image of St. George’s cross are flown on many buildings, and people wear a red rose on their lapel. Church services on the Sunday closest to 23rd April often include the hymn ‘Jerusalem’, written by William Blake.
St. George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor’ Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on 23rd April 303 and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
St. George’s Day was once celebrated as widely as Christmas. But the celebrations waned by the end of the 18th century after England had united with Scotland on 1st May 1707. In recent times, there has been a push, involving campaigns and petitions to make the day a public holiday in England.
St. George is the patron saint of a number of other countries including: Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal and Russia. Around the world, a number of days are devoted to St. George, including 23rd April and dates in November and December of the Gregorian calendar.
The most widely recognised symbol of St. George’s Day is St. George’s cross. This is a red cross on a white background, which is often displayed as a flag. It is used as England’s national flag, forming part of the Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Saint George’s cross was originally the flag of the maritime Republic of Genoa. Around 1190, the King of England started paying the Doge of Genoa to protect ships originally from the city of London and the rest of England that sailed in the Mediterranean.
During the crusades in the 1100s and 1200s, English knights used St. George’s cross as part of their uniform. It has been the official flag of England for centuries, but the Union Flag, a combination of St George’s cross, St Andrew’s cross and St Patrick’s cross, is the national flag of the United Kingdom. In more recent times the flag of St. George has become popular in supporting the national sporting teams of England. It also has a prominent place on the arms of the City of London and the flags of the city of Barcelona, Spain, and the country of Georgia.
The most famous legend of St. George is of him slaying a dragon. In the Middle Ages the dragon was commonly used to represent the Devil. The slaying of the dragon by St. George was first credited to him in the 12th century, long after his death.
Here at VALKYRIE (GB) LIMITED, we’d like to wish you all a very happy St. George’s Day!