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ST George is the patron saint of England and he is celebrated on April 23 every year.
The legendary solider has been celebrated in England since the 9th century.
April 23 is believed to have been the day St George was martyred in AD 303Credit: Getty Images – Getty
Why is it celebrated on April 23?
While details about St George have been lost in the mists of time, April 23 is widely considered to be the date of his death in AD 303.
It’s believed he was born in Cappadocia, now modern day Turkey.
While St George is usually depicted as a chivalric knight wearing shining armour he was more likely to have been a solider in the Roman army.
He was canonized in AD 494 by Pope Gelasius, who said he was one of those “whose names are justly revered among men but whose acts are known only to God”.
His emblem, a red cross on a white background was adopted by Richard The Lionheart and brought to England in the 12th century.
Parades and celebrations still take place across England to mark the dayCredit: Britain On View – Getty
Is St George’s Day the same date every year?
St George’s Day is always marked on April 23.
Parades and public activities still take place every year although this year many events have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
The hymn Jerusalem is traditionally sung on the day and Morris Dancers usually perform around the country.
Many pubs are decorated with England’s flag.
When did England adopt St George?
Over the centuries St George became popular with the English kings.
Edward I had banners bearing the emblem of St George – a red cross on a white background – and Edward III had a strong interest in the saint and owned a relic of his blood, according to English Heritage.
After the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, St George’s Day became one of the most important feast days in the English calendar.
During the Middle Ages, people considered St George was one of the ‘Fourteen Holy Helpers’ – a group of saints who could help during epidemic diseases.
People would call on the saint to protect them from things like the plague and leprosy.
William Shakespeare immortalised the saint in Henry V with the king shouting “Cry God for Harry, England and St George”.
The cross of St George only became an emblem of England during Henry VIII’s reign.
St George was made the patron saint of England in around 1348, after Edward III created the Order of the Garter, which bore his emblem.
These ‘knights’ celebrate the day with a pintCredit: Alamy
When was St George killed?
St George was beheaded for resigning his military post and protesting against his pagan leader, the Emperor Diocletian.
St George, protested against the persecutions carried out by the emperor and remained dedicated to his Christian faith.
For his troubles he was imprisoned and tortured.
His death is thought to have been on April 23, AD303.
He is thought to have died in Lydda – modern day Israel – in the Roman province of Palestine. His said is said to have been taken to Rome while the rest of his body was buried in Lod, Israel.