This weekend will see St George’s Day celebrated across England.
For the first time since the pandemic many cities have planned parades and events to mark the occasion.
St George has been celebrated as the patron saint of England since the 14th century.
However, his saint day is not classed as a bank holiday in the UK, although it is elsewhere.
Here’s everything you need to know about St George, his battle with the dragon and why he is England’s patron saint.
When is St George’s Day?
In 2022, St George’s Day falls on Saturday 23 April.
Is St George’s Day a bank holiday?
St George’s Day is not a bank holiday in England.
There have been calls for the day to become recognised as one, similarly to how St Patrick’s Day is a bank holiday in Ireland, but as of yet this has not happened.
Even though St George’s Day is not a bank holiday in England, it is celebrated as a bank holiday in The Vatican.
Who was St George?
St George is the patron saint of England and Georgia.
He was born in the third century in Cappadocia, Turkey and became a high-ranking soldier in the Roman army.
After converting to Christianity, St George protested against the army’s harsh treatments of Christians, which led to him being sentenced to death.
His torture and execution made him a Christian martyr and St George was canonized as a saint by Pope Gelasius I.
Why is St George the patron saint of England?
St George grew in popularity in England during the time of the crusades as he symbolised Christian chivalry.
Although he never visited England, his story of self-sacrifice and virtue spread, making him popular with English kings and knights of the time.
He was officially chosen as the patron saint of England in 1350 by King Edward III.
Did St George defeat the dragon?
The most popular story of St George depicts him defeating a dragon.
The story goes that he travelled to the town of Silene, Libya to slay a dragon that was terrorising the citizens. Upon witnessing his bravery, the villagers held a huge feast in his honour.
This tale was meant to symbolise the battle between good and evil with the dragon representing the devil.
Will there be a St George parade?
St George’s Day parades will once again be returning to towns and cities across England after being cancelled due to Covid.
Planned parades are expected in Manchester, Wigan, Blackpool, Nottingham and York to name a few.
In London, Trafalgar Square will feature a celebration of, “everything brilliant about England and being English.”
This will include live music from the London International Gospel Choir, string quartet Bowjangles, hoedown collective Cut A Shine, brass band Das Brass and folk music from the James Riley band. There will also be a food market, morris dancers and a knight training school.
What other countries celebrate St George’s Day?
The story of St George spread around the world, with many other countries opting to make him their patron saint, or celebrating his saint day.
In the Spanish region of Catalonia he is celebrated as the patron saint andis referred to as Sant Jordi.
St George is also the patron saint of Georgia and is celebrated twice throughout the year. First by a national holiday on 23 December and then again on 6 May.
Other countries that celebrate include Croatia, Bulgaria, Portugal, Cyprus, Romania and Greece.