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St George's Day

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What and How to do in order to encourage people to celebrate St George’s Day, in a country of which he is the Patron Saint, like in England ? This is a question the English Heritage is trying to answer to.
According to a survey published by the government agency, fewer than one in five people mark St George’s Day on April 23rd.
Do the English feel less national pride than the Scottish, Irish or Welsh? Yes, might be the answer.
Indeed, Irish have St Patrick’s Day to be proud of and Scotland has Burns Night, to name only the closest countries to England.

St George’s Day is celebrated in many countries for he is their Patron Saint. To name only a few: Canada, China, England, Portugal, Republic of Macedonia, and some cities as Catalonia, Moscow, and more.
To bother the English who seem really preoccupied by that day and whether to officially celebrate it or not, we might want to insist on the fact that in Newfoundland, Canada, St George’s Day is a Government Holiday.

The English Heritage, in order to rectify the situation, is trying to organize activities around the theme of St George and the Dragon.


Image Source: http://www.melkite.org/George.jpg

But who is St George?
He was, according to Christian Hagiography, a soldier or the Roman Empire and is venerated as a Christian martyr. He died in 303 AD, we assume.
He is one of the most venerated saints and is immortalised in the take of St George and The Dragon. He is also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers.

The Legend tells this story.
St George was travelling for many months. When he arrived in Libya, he met a hermit who told him a poor village was terrorised by a dragon, who would ask for sacrifices every day. People were in distress and the country was ravaged for the Dragon only anted beautiful maiden as sacrifices. The hermit said there were no more maiden in the village. The next sacrifice had been chosen. It was the King’s Daughter, and unless someone came to the rescue, she would be killed the second day. The hero that would save the village would have, as a reward, the Egyptian Princess’ hand.
The brave soldier, George, decided he would try to save the princess. And so he did. But it wasn’t as easy as he had thought, for the dragon’s scales were hard and broke his spear. St George fell from his horse and rolled under an enchanted orange tree. There, the venomous dragon was unable to hurt him because poison could not prevail against the tree.
After recovering a little, St George tried to kill the dragon with his sword. But the dragon poured poison on him and his armour split in two. Again, the orange tree gave him strength and St George rushed on the dragon and with his sword, pierced it under the wing where there was no scales. The Dragon fell dead at his feet and Princess Sabra was Saved.

There is a modern legend that tells another story:
“George was born to a Christian family during the late third century. His father was from Cappadocia and served as an officer of the Roman army. His mother was from Lydda, Iudaea (now Lod, Israel). She returned to her native city as a widow along with her young son, where she provided him with an education.

The youth followed his father's example by joining the army soon after coming of age. He proved to be a good soldier and consequently rose through the military ranks of the time. By his late twenties he had gained the title of Tribunus (Tribune) and then comes (Count), at which time George was stationed in Nicomedia as a member of the personal guard attached to Roman Emperor Diocletian.

In 303 Diocletian issued an edict authorizing the systematic persecution of Christians across the Empire. The emperor Galerius was supposedly responsible for this decision and would continue the persecution during his own reign (305–311). George was ordered to participate in the persecution but instead confessed to being a Christian himself and criticized the imperial decision. An enraged Diocletian ordered his torture and execution.

After various tortures, including laceration on a wheel of swords, in which he was miraculously resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr.”
( extract of Wikipedia article St George, to read the full article see link below)

Sources:
http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/stgeorge2.html

http://current.com/items/88915276_it_s_st_georges_day_less_than_1_in_5_of_you_care

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_George

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