Saint George became the patron saint of England due to his honour, bravery and gallantry, which were key English ideals.
Saint George, born in Cappadocia (now Eastern Turkey), a Christian and at the age of 17 joined the Roman Army. Amongst his peers, he soon developed a reputation of virtuous behaviour, bravery and physical strength. He quite quickly became the equivalent to a Colonel in the ranks and was overseeing 1,000 men.
Emperor Diocletian began to persecute Christians, as he felt the Pagan Roman roots were being lost and there were rumours that Christians were plotting the murder of the Emperor’s second in command. Saint George pleaded with the Emperor to spare the lives of the Christians, but his pleas amounted to his own persecution, torture and beheading.
Many associate St. George with the legend of ‘George and the Dragon’ and even religious paintings depict him slaying a dragon. However, this is pure legend. Dragons are commonly used to symbolise the Devil or forms of evil. Some say folklore was adapted around the acts of Saint George and others that the Dragon represents the Pagan beliefs and the act of slaying represents Saint George’s martyrdom and bravery to defend the Christians.
Although he was not English, his admirable traits were cross cultural and as a result his legend is known worldwide and is the patron saint of 9 other countries and 16 cities.
There are quite a few things you can do to celebrate St. George’s Day as many towns and cities will be holding their own celebrations.
23rd April is also the day Shakespeare was birthday and the day he died (1564 – 1616). Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon and is the most renowned poet and play-writer of the English language. He is also referred to as England’s national poet.
The 23rd April, truly is a day to celebrate English heritage.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson, has arranged a week-long of celebrations including parades, food festivals, concerts etc between 18th – 26th April. (For more details on the events taking place, click on the following link: St George’s Day, London)
National Holidays are operating a 5-day London break, with an included guided tour of the Capital as well as plenty of free time, for you to take advantage of the St. George’s week festivities. Please click here for further details or call our friendly reservations team on 0845 330 3747.
2. Medieval York
Explore England and visit medieval York with Shearings Holidays! Take a walk through England’s colourful history on a guided tour of the city, a visit to York Brewery and a cruise on the River Ouse. For further details please click here or call our reservations team on 0845 330 3747.
3. Three Cathedral Cities – Wells, Exeter & Bath
Woods Coaches are conducting a tour to Wells, Exeter and Bath. These three cities are hailed for their magnificent cathedrals and historic buildings which are rich in history and English heritage. For further details about this tour please click here or call our reservations team on 0845 330 3747.
4. Stratford-upon-Avon, Oxford and the Cotswolds
On this all-inclusive tour operated by National Holidays, you will have the chance to explore the birthplace of Shakespeare, along with Oxford and the Cotswolds. For further details please click here or call our reservations team on 0845 330 3747.
Please Note: Pickups for each tour vary, please ask for further details in your enquiry or when you speak to a member of the reservations team.