St George’s Day!
“Cry God for Harry, England and Saint George!”
William Shakespeare (Henry V)
Although it is not a big event or a national holiday, St George’s Day is celebrated on 23rd April each year. It’s a great excuse to enjoy or learn about some of England’s customs and traditions, and also to think about knights and castles and dragons! It’s also a good time to think about one of England’s most famous men, William Shakespeare, who was not only born on 23rd April 1564 but also died on 23rd April 1616!
Who Was St George?
St. George (famous for slaying the dragon) is the patron saint of England.He was a Roman soldier who protested against the Roman torture of Christians, and was killed for his beliefs. He is most famous for the story of his fight against the dragon.
FACTS ABOUT ST GEORGE DAY
Sant Jordi in Catalonia
St.George’s day is like St Valentine’s Day in Catalonia. This way, many couples exchange books and roses as a token of love. Normally, the man gives the lady a rose, and she, in return, offers a book to the gentleman. But over time this practice has modernized and everybody gives both presents to the people they love.
It is believed that the tradition of giving a rose to the beloved woman goes back to the fifteenth century. Some versions match this practice with the Fair or the Roses that took place in Barcelona in the summer. But the most popular and beloved theory is about the Catalan knights, who went eastwards and who wrote many stories about Sant Jordi. The legend tells that Saint George fought against a wicked dragon to free a queen that was to be eaten by the beast. He defeated the dragon and from the animal’s blood produced a rose as a sign of love and friendship. Since then, the men usually give a rose to the women and the women, as a sample of their gratefulness, a book.
This day has a strong testimony of the Catalan culture. There are lots ofSenyeras (the red and yellow striped autonomous Catalan flags) waving everywhere. In fact, all the roses of Sant Jordi are accompanied by a Senyera and a wheat spike.
Moreover, the fact that April 23 has been named World Book Day will help with the promotion and sale of books in all cities in Catalonia all throughout the festival of the Diada. For example, in Barcelona hundreds of book stalls are assembled where people buy all kinds of books and where many authors sign their novels. Many cultural and activities are also held as well as outdoor concerts and all kinds of workshops.
THE LEGEND OF SAINT GEORGE
Once upon a time there was a small village with a big castle.
The village was quiet. It was in the mountains.
The castle was big.
In the castle lived the king and a princess. The princess was pretty.
A dragon arrived at the village. The dragon had big eyes, a big nose and a big mouth.
The dragon was very strong and bad. It had a long tail and big ears.
The dragon was dangerous and he was hungry.
He wanted to eat the princess.The princess was scared.
Saint George fought the dragon. He killed the dragon.
From the dragon’s blood grow a red rose.
They got married.
THE LEGEND OF ST. GEORGE
THE PRINCESS AND THE DRAGON STORY
GREEDY KNIGHT GAME
Help the greedy knight collect as many gold coins as he can in this online game.
It’s not quite as easy as it looks at first, as the knight must move like a knight
in chess, and only land on each column once!