11 Amazing St George's Day Facts
Learn all about the patron saint of England with these fantastic fun facts!
You've probably done something special on St. George's Day before, but do you know all the facts behind the festival? If you've ever wondered who St. George is, how to celebrate St. George's Day, or which other countries call St. George their patron saint, you're about to find out! Learn more about historical legends with us - we've got facts on Robin Hood, King Arthur, and Anne Boleyn!
1. He was not born in England
That's right, the patron saint of England was not English! George was born in a place called Cappadocia, which is in modern day Turkey!
2. St. George's Day is always on April 23rd
Unlike Easter, St. George's Day always falls on April 23rd!
3. St. George wasn't a knight
St. George is usually depicted as a knight in shining armour, but this isn't the truth. It is generally thought he was an officer in the Roman army - so he might have had shining armour, but not the medieval English kind.
4. He's the patron saint of a lot of things
Pretty much all saints are the patron saint of more than one thing, and George is no exception! He's the patron saint of England, farmers, soldiers, saddle makers, skin diseases, and Scouts! If you're in the Guides or Scouts you've probably participated in a St. George's celebration!
5. He never visited England
Despite being England's patron saint, he almost certainly never set foot on English soil!
6. He's most famous for slaying a dragon
The story is that George rode into Silene (that's Libya today) to free the city from a dragon. The story actually predates George, and it's thought that it was later added to St. George's legend after pictures were made of St. George fighting a dragon that were supposed to resemble the general battle between Good and Evil. Which isn't fair, because dragons are cool!
7. Other countries also celebrate St. George
Plenty of other countries and cities have St. George as a patron saint, including Portugal, Genoa, Venice, Ethiopia and Catalonia!
8. British traditions are celebrated on St. George's Day
We don't celebrate St. George's Day quite as much as some other holidays, but there are still some traditions that go with it! The hymn Jerusalem is often sung on the day, Morris dancers perform, and people make an effort to have some proper English food. Yorkshire pud, shepherd's pie, Sunday roast, and fish and chips, anyone?
9. St. George was a martyr
A martyr in Christianity is someone who dies for their religious beliefs. Most saints are martyrs, and St. George was no exception. He had his head cut off for refusing to denounce his Christianity - yikes!
10. He was one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers
St. George was one of the "Fourteen Holy Helpers". This was a group of saints that people in the Middle Ages thought would protect them from epidemic diseases - and there were a LOT of those around. The Bubonic Plague was a big one, but St. George was more associated with leprosy (now called Hansen's Disease). This is a very old disease that was especially problematic in medieval times. People prayed to St. George to protect them against the disease, or to help them if they already had it.
11. The English flag is St. George's emblem
The red cross on a white background is symbolic of St. George. This flag is also part of the Union Flag, the symbol of Great Britain!