April 23, 2013 - St. George's Day in the U.K.

The United Kingdom is made up of Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and England. Each has its “patron saint”—a figure that is said to protect that country and its people. For England, that patron saint is St. George.

(By the way, St. George is considered the patron saint of several different countries and cities around the world.)

Details about the “real” St. George's life are very uncertain (his existence as a historical person isn't certain), but legend has it that he was born in what is now Turkey, in the 200s. He was supposed to have later lived in Palestine, where he became a Roman soldier. The legends tell us that the reason he is a saint is because he was a Christian who faced persecution and eventually death for his religion.

Another famous legend tells us that St. George saved a maiden and/or a kingdom from a poison-spewing dragon. This story has become very familiar partly because several artists chose to paint or sculpt the dramatic fight between armored soldier and dragon.


In Salisbury, there is a traditional St. George's Day pageant. In other places, people enjoy morris dancing and Punch and Judy shows. People often combine the feast day with festivities in honor of playwright William Shakespeare (check out the post about Shakespeare's birthday below). An old-time tradition that is rarely followed today is wearing a red rose (check out the Day of the Rose post below).

Here is a website, created for a school project, that features the Legend of St. George Slaying the Dragon. 

Here are free resources for celebrating St. George's Day, including the story of St. George and the dragon, posters, and coloring sheets.

Also on this date:

Physicist Max Planck's birthday 

Playwright and poet William Shakespeare's birthday (?)

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