When is St George’s Day 2021? Date of the celebration of England’s patron saint - and is it a bank holiday

Every year England's patron saint, St George is remembered on the anniversary of his death

In recent years, groups of friends have gathered to celebrate St George's Day at social events.  (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)
In recent years, groups of friends have gathered to celebrate St George's Day at social events. (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

Not much is known about St George. Some say George is from Turkey, others say he is from Palestine while many say he was Greek.

Legend has it that the so-called dragon slayer never set foot in England but the country adopted George as its saint for his qualities of chivalry in 1415.

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While he might never have slayed an actual dragon - the beast is probably meant to depict him refusing to bow down to Roman persecution, or his immense bravery.

The FC Barcelona badge displays the Saint George's Cross as he is also the patron saint of Catalonia - known as Sant Jordi. (Franck Fife/AFP via Getty Images)

The St George’s cross - a red cross on a white background - is said to portray the same emblem he had on his shield which is still recognised as England’s national flag.

He is also the patron of Catalonia, the autonomous region of Spain which Barcelona is in. If you look close enough – you will see England’s flag on the FC Barcelona’s badge.

So when is St George’s Day? Here’s when it takes place in 2021.

When is St. George’s Day?

St. George’s Day is today, Friday, April 23 - the anniversary of the patron saint's death.

Next year, St. George’s Day is scheduled to be observed on Monday 25 April in 2022.

It is celebrated on a weekday if the date falls on a Sunday close to Easter.

What is the story behind St. George’s Day?

According to legend, Saint George was a soldier in the Roman army who rose to popularity during the Crusades and killed a dragon and saved a princess.

He was then executed for his Christianity by the Roman Empire in 303AD.

King Edward III bestowed the position of patron saint of the Order of the Garter, a knighthood for chivalry, to St George in 1348.

It was in 1346 at the Battle of Crecy that King Edward III wanted his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing the colours of St George.

A chapel was built at Windsor Castle and a church in Fordington, Dorset, was named after him.

What happens on St. George’s Day?

St. George’s Day is no longer a public holiday - and hasn’t been for some time.

Schools, banks, shops, post offices, and other businesses have remained open in previous years, while public transport operates at a normal timetable service.

It has been a good excuse for people to head to the pub for a drink or hold family gatherings in the past, though it is likely to have a very different look and feel in 2021.

England entered the second step of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown, on April 12.

Some Covid rules were relaxed in time for Easter, with people able to meet outdoors in groups of six from 29 March.

Pubs and restaurants can now serve people outside, with customers able to have an alcoholic drink without ordering a substantial meal.

But indoor socialising is still illegal with anyone outside your household or support bubble.

Why is St. George’s Day celebrated?

The anniversary of his death is seen as England's national day and, once, in the 15th century it used to be celebrated as much as Christmas.

Since the mid-1990s St. George’s Day has experienced a revival, helped by thousands of flags being waved at England football matches at the 1996 European Championships.

Euro ‘96, held in England, saw the national team reach the semi-final stage in what is fondly looked back upon by supporters as a championship which grabbed the population’s attention.

The red cross of St. George is now widely used at sporting events, flown by churches, local authorities and other organisations as a sign of patriotism and a symbol of national pride.