Image Credit: Mark Mordecai
St. George’s Day is celebrated on 23rd April each year. It is not a national holiday in England, but there are many organisations who campaign for it to be designated a bank holiday.
St. George is not only the patron saint of England; we have to share him with Portugal, Malta, Georgia, Moscow, Cappadocia, Aragon and Genoa.
He is also the patron saint of agricultural workers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers, skin disease and various STDs.
He is thought to have been an officer in the Roman army who was martyred for his Christian beliefs.
The legend goes that a dragon was terrorising a country by demanding that a maiden was sacrificed to it each day. The only maiden left is the princess of that land, and George vows to save the princess by slaying the dragon. He is most unlikely to have actually fought an actual dragon; the story is undoubtedly an allegory of the fight of good against evil.
He was probably made the patron saint of England by Edward III during the crusades, chosen for his embodiment of courage, valour and fighting for his Christian beliefs.
It has been suggested that the figure of a horse carved into the hillside at Uffington, Berkshire in fact represents the dragon killed by St. George at nearby Dragon Hill. Apparently no grass grows on the summit of Dragon Hill where the dragon’s blood was spilled.
St. George’s Chapel Windsor, venue for royal weddings and blessings, is the home of the sovereign's principal order of chivalry, the Order of the Garter. Part of Windsor Castle, it is the focus of the Garter Ceremony each June. Members nowadays include former prime ministers and members of the royal family. New appointments to the order are announced on 23rd April.
There are also some very nice dragon colouring pictures at All About Colouring.
About the Author: Jacqui O'Brien is the Editor of eParenting.