Home » Festivals and Events » All you need to know about St George’s Day – Trafalgar Square Celebrations 21st April

All you need to know about St George’s Day – Trafalgar Square Celebrations 21st April

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Last years celebrations in Trafalgar Square

On the 23rd April, England celebrates its patron saint St George, the story of St George is wrapped up in myth and legend, but many historians argue that St George was born in AD 270 in Turkey and became a Roman Soldier, he later resigned his military post as a protest against the Emperor Diocletian persecution of Christians. Diocletian had him tortured then beheaded on the  23rd of April for staying true to his faith.

There is also a legend of how St George,  a knight from the Crusades  riding his white stallion sees a Princess due to be eaten by a dragon.

St George dismounts and picks up  his sword, protecting himself with the sign of the cross. He fought the dragon on foot and managed to slay the beast and saved the princess. The people of the local town were so impressed they abandoned their pagan beliefs to convert to Christianity.
It was from this incidents that his legend grew, one of the first time he is mentioned in England is by the Venerable Bede in the 8th century.
By the 13th century his reputation had grown for the Council of Oxford to declare April 23rd to be St George’s Day, however he did not became the Patron Saint of England until 1348.
In medieval England, St George’s Day was declared a national feast day and holiday, he was also a favourite of Royalty, in William Shakespeare’s Henry V, the battle cry at Agincourt was  “Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'”

When England and Scotland joined in union in the 18th Century, the tradition of St George’s Day declined and ceased to be a national holiday.

In the last few years there has been a movement to rekindle the tradition of St George’s Day to celebrate all things English, it was once a tradition that one wore a red rose on St George’s day and many churches would fly the St Georges flag.
Whilst many people are happy to continue the tradition others point out that St George has very little connection to England and many other countries celebrate  St Georges Day including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia,  and Greece.

One of the supporters of celebrating St George’s Day is Mayor of London Boris Johnson who started the festival in Trafalgar Square.
This years festival takes place on Bank holiday Monday 21 April from noon to 6pm, with a feast of traditional English fare and free fun for everyone!

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There’ll be an English farmers’ market, with around 20 stalls selling treats like hog roast, homemade pies, cakes and freshly squeezed lemonade – all can be enjoyed in a splendid banqueting area seating 250 people between Trafalgar Square’s  fountains.

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In Cooks’ Corner, see live demonstrations from leading London chefs as they cook up English dishes from past and present.

The afternoon’s soundtrack comes courtesy of the Music Medley bandstand with talented young musicians and singers from GIGS, the Mayor’s busking competition.

There’ll be plenty of activities for the kids too with a marquee full of family activities and an outdoor games area where you can try a range of traditional garden games.

 


1 Comment

  1. Shakespeare was born & died on that day. He & Cervantes died on the same day

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