During this difficult time of sorrow, hardship, bravery and sacrifice across the world, there seems very little to celebrate. But wait what is that I hear…. a thundering of hooves? Out of the mist of sadness, boredom, and general disbelief there is a knight in shining armour.
Today is St. George’s day!
Often the poor, forgotten cousin of St. Patrick’s Day, let’s make an effort this year to celebrate all things English.
When we applaud our wonderful NHS this evening at 8pm, let us do so with the waving of the St. Georges flag, painted faces and to the chorus of Jerusalem. Let us get out those red or white tops (or both) and give a real English cheer, hurrah!
I’ve put together some ideas of how to celebrate St. George’s Day, but before we get to that I’ve included a brief history.
You’d be hard pressed to find anything that’s more English than St. George. After all, he was a Roman solider of Greek and Palestinian origin.
A Brief History: St. George’s Day
Celebrated on the 23rd April every year, this is the date traditionally accepted of his death in AD 303. Legend has it that St. George slew an evil dragon that was plaguing a local town and saved a princess.
By chance, St. George travelled to the city of Silene in Libya. According to legend the only well in Silene was guarded by a ferocious dragon who required a daily human sacrifice so that the townspeople could gain access to water.
On the day St. George happened by it was the turn of the princess to be sacrificed. St. George popped off and slayed the dragon, saved the princess, and gave the people access to the well. To show their gratitude they all converted to Christianity.
Historical evidence points to the real St. George living in Palestine during the 3rd Century. He is said to have followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the ranks of the Roman Army, eventually being executed for his Christian beliefs.
Did you know?
St. George is also the patron saint of Ethiopia, Georgia, and Portugal, as well as the cities of Beirut and Moscow.
William Shakespeare was born on St. George’s day and died on St. George’s Day.
Why isn’t St. George’s Day a bank holiday?
In 1415 St. George’s Day was made a national feast day and holiday in England, a status that remained until the 18th Century.
However, the Act of Union between England and Scotland in 1707 led to its demise.
Unlike it’s much celebrated cousin St. Patrick’s Day in Northern Ireland, schools and businesses must open as usual on 23rd April. BUT NOT THIS YEAR SO LET’S CELEBRATE THE DAY.
What can you do to celebrate?
For starters wear anything red or white or both – easy.
How about starting the day with an English Breakfast? Grab what you can and put together a good old English fry up, don’t forget the tea and toast.
Probably not practical or possible for all, but what about a good old fashioned roast. And there are plenty of alternatives out there for Vegans and Vegetarians. If you don’t fancy that, how about Bangers and Mash, Toad in the Hole, Shepherds Pie etc. Apologies if this is too meat based!!
Face painting is a great idea for the kids. You can access a live St. George’s tutorial here where you can learn to paint a dragon amongst other things.
For those good with your hands and creative types why not try making a wooden sword for the youngsters. I used to make these all the time when I was young. Why not cover it in tin foil to get that authentic steel finish.
Why not put together an English playlist. There are so many artists to choose from you can tailor it to your own tastes.
For those with a little more know how in the kitchen (and if you can get the ingredients!), why not have a go at one of these classic English puddings.
For those into sport, why not grab yourself a drink and settle down to some classic English Sport. I have outlined some ideas here for you, but I am sure you know.
- Italia 90
- Russia 2018
- 2019 Cricket World Cup
- Anything Ben Stokes
- Rugby World Cup 2003
- World Cup 1966
- Olympics 2012 (I know this was British!!!)
How about getting involved with the Youtube Live Pub Quiz. It is held every Thursday after the clap for the NHS. We have a zoom call with our neighbours whilst the quiz is on and we have a running competition. Grab some friends and family and try it.
What about a good old fashioned game of cards?
The list is endless of what you can do to celebrate. The important message I suppose I am trying to get across is let’s try and forget about things for a moment if we can and celebrate something we rarely celebrate. You never know, it might catch on!
Happy St George’s Day!
Jerusalem – why not sing along!?
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among these dark Satanic Mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold:
Bring me my arrows of desire:
Bring me my spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire.
I shall not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green & pleasant land.