St George’s Day:
Today England celebrates St Georges’s day, who is the patron saint of England. This day is traditionally marked by morris dancing as well as schools encouraging children who are members of uniformed organisations such as Beavers, Brownies, Cadets, Guides Rainbows, or Scouts to wear their uniform.
The flag of Saint George is a red cross on a white background and is England’s national flag which is incorporated into the Union Flag (Flag of the United Kingdom).
St George is also the Patron saint of Aragon, Catalonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Germany, Greece, Moscow, Istanbul, Genoa and Venice (second to Saint Mark).
Why is St George the patron saint of England?
It is recorded that in the 14th Century, King Edward III (1327-77) founded something called the Order of the Garter in around 1348 having been so inspired by tales of King Arthur and his knights. The Order of the Garter was created as a special group of knights and still exists today.
The King made St George the patron of this Order and its badge depicts George slaying the dragon, and so St George remains an important symbol of knighthood in this country.
What about the dragon?
When St George’s name is mentioned, many people think of the story of him slaying a dragon. Legend has it that George came to a city called Silene in the country of Libya, where there was a dragon. The people of this city were feeding sheep to the dragon every day to stop it from attacking them, however one day they ran out of sheep! Then they began to feed it to their children, chosen by lottery. When the King’s daughter drew the lottery, the King offered all his gold and silver to spare his daughter, however the people refused. The daughter was taken to the lake, dressed as a bride, and was to be fed to the dragon.
By chance Saint George arrived and saw the princess who tried to send him away, however he vowed to remain. George charged it on horseback, seriously wounding it with his lance and saved the Princess. St George captured the Dragon and took it back to the city of Silene which scared the citizens greatly. St George offered to kill the dragon if they became Christians and be baptised, which they did. St George then beheaded the dragon with his Sword, so goes the legend.