Saint George’s Day Date in the current year: April 23, 2019

Saint George’s Day The Feast of Saint George, also known as Saint George’s Day, is celebrated by various Christian churches on April 23 (although for Eastern Orthodox Churches which use the Julian calendar, it falls on May 6 of the Gregorian calendar). In some countries and regions of which Saint George is the patron saint, it is a public holiday.

Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in Christianity. He was a Roman soldier of Greek descent who served in Emperor Diocletian’s Praetorian Guard. After refusing to recant his Christian faith, he was sentenced to death. The traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s death is April 23, 303 AD.

The most famous legend about Saint George describes him taming and slaying a venom-spewing dragon that poisoned the countryside. To protect the nearby city, its dwellers offered sacrifices to be fed to the dragon: first sheep, and then their children and youth. When the king’s daughter was chosen by lottery to be sacrificed to the dragon, Saint George arrived at the spot by chance and killed the beast.

Saint George is a patron saint of soldiers, archers, equestrians, cavalry, scouts, sheep and shepherds, farmers and other agricultural workers, and people suffering from skin disease or syphilis. In addition, he is a patron saint of a number of countries and cities, including Georgia, England, parts of Spain (Valencia, Catalonia, Aragon), Portugal, Brazil, Russia, Bulgaria, Malta, Serbia, Montenegro, and the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The traditionally accepted date of Saint George’s Day is April 23; however, some churches also have additional feasts dedicated to the saint. When the Feast of Saint George coincides with Easter, the church celebration of the former may be moved to another day.

Saint George’s Day used to be a major celebration in England, of which he is the patron saint. The tradition began to dwindle after the union of England and Scotland in the 18th century. Nevertheless, some cities and towns still host Saint George’s Day festivals and pageants.

The Feast of Saint George is widely celebrated in several regions of Spain, namely Aragon, Catalonia, and Valencia. In Aragon, the holiday commemorates both the death anniversary of Saint George and the victory of the Christian army over moors in the Battle of Alcoraz (1096). In the Valencian city of Alcoy, Saint George’s Day is marked with the annual Moors and Christians festival.

In Catalonia, Saint George’s Day is known as La Diada de Sant Jordi, El Dia de la Rosa (The Day of the Rose), or El Dia del Llibre (The Day of the Book). On this day, people exchange roses and books with sweethearts, loved ones and colleagues. Roses have been associated with the holiday since the Middle Ages; the tradition of giving books originated in 1923, when local booksellers started to promote Saint George’s Day as a commemoration of the death anniversaries of Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare.

In addition, the Feast of the Saint George is a public holiday in Vatican because Pope Francis, the incumbent head of the Catholic Church, was born Jorge Mario Bergolio, so Saint George’s Day is his name day.

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Category

Religious Holidays, Cultural Observances, Folk Festivals

Country

Spain, Vatican City

Tags

Saint George’s Day, Feast of Saint George, religious holiday, religions festival, Saint George