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St. George's Day
"I see you Stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the Start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry "God for Harry, England and St. George!"
~ Henry V, William Shakespeare, 1599
Happy St George's Day! Although there had been earlier patron saints in England (such as Edmund the Martyr and Edward the Confessor), it was during the 12th century Crusades that tales of Richard the Lionheart's vision of Saint George (who promised him victory in battle) spread the veneration of this 4th century Roman soldier, martyred on this day in 303 AD. By the mid 13th century, Saint George was proclaimed the patron saint of England and later, protector of the royal family. Saint George is also the patron saint of many other countries (including Georgia, Ethiopia, Lithuania. Portugal. Catalonia, Aragon) and that of soldiers, archers, cavalry and chivalry, farmers and field workers, riders and saddlers! In modern times, Lord Baden-Powell choose Saint George to be the Scouting movement's patron saint, feeling that the qualities of this legendary saint (who saved a princess and defeated a fearsome dragon with only a spear) exemplified the brave and noble aspirations that reflect a good Scout. 🏴 🐉
Today, April 23, also known as "Slay a Dragon Day" is the day in which England which remembers the anniversary of the death of St. George, England's patron saint. This tartan was designed in 2006 for citizens of England to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the Union between Scotland and England.
From the designer's notes:
The best known legend surrounding St. George is that of the dragon. According to this legend a pagan town in what is now Libya was being terrorised by a fierce dragon. To placate the insatiable beast the locals began to sacrifice their own townspeople. Finally the local Princess was set to be sacrificed, but good St. George came along, slaughtered the dragon and rescued the fair Princess.
At this the townsfolk converted to Christianity. In 1222 the Council of Oxford declared the 23rd April as his Feast Day, and he eventually became the Patron Saint of England sometime in the 14th Century.
It is traditional for men to celebrate St. George’s Day by giving their ladies a red rose to honour the memory of St. George and the Princess he saved from the dragon.
The St. George tartan has been designed to incorporate those emblems which best represent England as a nation: The red Cross of St. George on its white field, surrounded by the three lions passant which form the Arms of England, and set in blue symbolising its island nature and dominance of the High Seas, laced with Royal Purple representing 1000 years of enduring monarchic tradition.
For more about the legend of St. George and the dragon, click the stained glass.