23 April is the date we commemorate the death of St George, the Patron Saint of England, in AD 303.
He was born in Turkey, but was beheaded for resigning his military post and protesting against his pagan leader, the Emeror Diocleatian, who led Rome’s persecution of Christians.
The Emperor’s wife was so inspired by St George’s bravery and loyalty to his religion, that she too became a Christian and was subsequently executed for her faith.
The legend of St George slaying a dragon was used in the Middle Ages to symbolise the ascendancy of good over evil.
George’s emblem, a red cross on a white background was adopted by Richard the Lionheart and brought to England in the 12th century, when the king’s soldiers would wear it on their tunics to denote their English allegiance and avoid confusion in battle.
AS well is being the Patron Saint of England St George is also the Patron Saint of several other countries and of Scouting. On the Sunday nearest to 23 April scouts and guides throughout England traditionally parade through the streets on their way to church.
St George’s Day is also marked with quintessentially British traditions, like Morris Dancing, consuming fish & chips or watching a Punch & Judy puppet show.