Celebrate All That Is English On St George’s Day!

St George’s Day falls on Thursday 23rd April 2009 and is England’s national day, with St George being the patron saint of England, even though he wasn’t even English!   St George was a Roman soldier and is infamous for slaying a dragon.

In reality, St George’s Day is not fully celebrated in England, but merely acknowledged – a far cry from the festivities surrounding St Patrick’s Day or St David’s Day – or even the Scottish Burns Night.   There is no national holiday nor many festivities to mark this day. During recent years however, there are several societies and celebrities who  have been  trying to revive St George’s Day to promote all that is English.   Several government buildings in central London are now displaying the St George’s flag – the red cross on a white background (also the flag of England).   This year, a flag made entirely from Cheddar cheese has been sent to Downing Street to try to persuade the current Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, to make the 23rd April a Bank Holiday or national holiday in England.

But St George is not just an English saint.   There are also several other European countries and  regions who observe St George’s Day on the 23rd April, including Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia and Russia.   St George even appears on the city arms of Moscow.   However, his reach is far and wide and St George’s Day celebrations can be found as far afield as Lebanon and Newfoundland in Canada. This day is celebrated in different ways in these countries. For example, in Catalonia (Spain), this day is known as La Diada de Sant Jordi (The Day of Saint George) and also as El Dia del Libre (The Day of the Book). It is a national holiday in Catalonia with women traditionally giving a book to male loved ones and men giving roses to female loved ones.

Let us know if you celebrate St George’s Day!