Happy St George's Day!

Today, April 23rd, is our National day in England and the celebration of our patron saint - St George! But who was he and why do we celebrate him? St George was a solider in the Roman Army, born in Lydda, Roman Palestine and was later venerated as a Christian martyr. Although there are many fanciful legends that have immortalised St George, namely his famous encounter with a dragon, he is mentioned in various literature, perhaps most interestingly, in the will of Alfred the Great.

The tale of St George and the dragon takes place in Libya where the town had a pond as large as a lake and was home to a dangerous dragon. The townsfolk would feed the dragon two sheep every day but when sheep were unavailable they resorted to feeding it children! The selection was a lottery and when the own Kings’ daughter was selected he begged the town spare her life in exchange for all his gold, silver and half of his kingdom. But the people refused and the young Princess was sent to the lake. St George, by chance, rode past the lake and mortally wounded the dragon as he reared to attack. The sword of St George is traditionally known as Ascalon and was later used as the name of Winston Churchill’s personal aircraft during World War II.

Later a church in Lydda was consecrated to “a man of the highest distinction” and although at the time the name of the patron was undisclosed, it was later attributed to St George.

St George’s Day is celebrated around the world inlcuding Georgia, England, Egypt, Bulgaria, Aragon, Catalonia, Romania, Ethiopia, Greece, India, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Lithuania, Palestine, Portugal, Serbia, Macedonia, Ukraine, Russia and Syria, as well as the cities of Genoa, Amersfoort, Beirut, Botoşani, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Timişoara, Fakiha, Bteghrine, Cáceres, Ferrara, Freiburg im Breisgau, Kragujevac, Kumanovo, Ljubljana, Pérouges, Pomorie, Preston, Qormi, Rio de Janeiro, Lydda, Lviv, Barcelona, Moscow and Victoria.

Charles Churchill (1731-1764) - english poet

"Be England what she will. With all her faults, she is my country still".

 23rd April 2014 /    Alice /   On this day, Global Events

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