Here’s what you might not know about St. George’s Day:
Take a close look at the English flag. That red cross over a white background has meaning. It’s actually St. George’s Cross — a symbol so closely intertwined with English national identity that St. George has his own national holiday.
The legend of Saint George and the Dragon describes the saint taming and slaying a dragon that demanded human sacrifices. We celebrate St. George’s Day on April 23 — the anniversary of his death in 303 AD.
The patron saint of England has captivated British imaginations since the Crusades and the Hundred Years’ War. Perhaps the most British of all holidays, this special day is a chance to let your English flag fly, literally and figuratively.
St. George's Day timeline
Saint George dies in the Diocletianic Persecution.
Saint George’s flag, the red-on-white cross, is used as the ensign of the Republic of Genoa likely as early as during the 10th century.
The declarations of the Province of Canterbury in 1415 and the Province of York in 1421 elevates the feast to a ‘double major’ and, as a result, work is prohibited and church attendance is mandatory on this day.
St. George's Day becomes a major feast and national holiday in England in the same league as Christmas.
St. George's Day Activities
Wear a rose
Why a red rose? Because according to legend, after saving a princess from the infamous dragon, St. George handed her a red rose. He was the ultimate dreamboat.
Fly the (English) flag
No, not the Union Jack. Try the St. George's Cross of England instead! There aren't many opportunities to let the English flag fly these days (unless you're a football fan), so seize the opportunity on St. George's Day.
Head to the capital
Every English city has its own St. George's Day festivities, but the main event happens in London. With its countless pubs (all flying the English flag), parades, shops, and massive fireworks display, London is the place to be on this most English of holidays.
Why We Love St. George's Day
We're all British — for 24 hours
This day celebrates English culture. We can have a spot of tea, play polo, eat fish & chips, fly the English flag, and not worry about the consequences.
Originally a religious feast day, St. George's Day happens across religions and countries, stretching from the Middle East to Russia, Central Europe, to the Iberian Peninsula.
According to a 1,000-year-old legend, St. George slayed a dragon and rescued a princess when he was serving as a soldier in the Roman army.
St. George's Day dates