Shipping discount


0 Basket


Your Basket is currently empty!
Subtotal £0.00
Estimated Shipping (UK) £3.95

Just Spend £ more to qualify for FREE shipping

If you use a discount code, you may fall below the free shipping threshold.

What is St George's Day all about?

Posted by Mike Armstrong on

What is St George's Day all about?

St. George's Day is a significant cultural event in England, commemorating the patron saint of the country. Celebrated on April 23rd, it is a time for English people to honour their heritage and the virtues of chivalry and bravery associated with Saint George. Despite its rich history and the various traditional festivities, awareness of the day and its importance seems to be waning, prompting discussions on how to rejuvenate and promote this historic occasion.

Key Takeaways

  • St. George's Day is steeped in history, with its origins linked to the valorous legends of Saint George and his association with chivalric ideals.
  • The celebration is marked by various traditions such as church services, parades, and the enjoyment of English culinary delights, reflecting the nation's cultural heritage.
  • Awareness of St. George's Day is relatively low, with surveys indicating that less than half of the English population know the exact date of the celebration.
  • Unlike other patron saints' days in the UK, St. George's Day is not a public holiday, which may affect the level of participation and recognition.
  • Contemporary challenges include debates on public holiday status, commercialisation versus cultural preservation, and ensuring inclusivity within a multicultural society.

The Historical Significance of St. George's Day

The Historical Significance of St. George's Day

Origins and Evolution of the Celebration

The celebration of St George's Day has undergone a significant evolution since its inception. Initially, the day was marked by religious observances and the honouring of St George as a martyr. Over time, it has transformed into a day of national pride and a celebration of English culture and heritage. The myth of Saint George slaying the dragon originated in stories of his valiance and bravery brought back by the Crusaders. These tales laid the foundation for the chivalric ideals that would later be associated with the day.

In contemporary times, St George's Day has seen a resurgence in popularity, with various events and merchandise, such as the St George's Day T Shirt and St George's Day Shirt, becoming part of the festivities. These items not only serve as a means of participation but also as a symbol of the day's cultural significance.

While the core of St George's Day remains steeped in tradition, modern celebrations have adapted to reflect the diverse society of England today. The day's observances continue to evolve, incorporating new elements while respecting historical roots.

The following list highlights some of the key changes in the celebration of St George's Day over the years:

  • Increased public awareness and participation
  • Introduction of modern merchandise like themed apparel
  • Expansion of events beyond religious ceremonies to include parades and community activities
  • Greater emphasis on education and the promotion of English history and values

St. George: The Patron Saint of England

Saint George, the patron saint of England, is celebrated with fervour on April 23rd each year. His legacy is deeply interwoven with the national identity, symbolised by the Cross of St George, which adorns the country's flag. Despite the common myth, Saint George was not an English knight, nor did he slay a dragon. Instead, he was a Roman soldier who became a martyr for his Christian faith, and his story has been embraced as a representation of courage and honour.

The veneration of Saint George in England can be traced back to the Middle Ages, where his status as a martyr and his association with chivalric ideals resonated with the English nobility. Over time, his legend grew, and he was adopted as the nation's patron saint. Today, his influence is seen in various aspects of English culture, from the military to the monarchy, and even in the realm of British patriotism expressed through iconic T-shirts featuring national symbols and slogans.

The celebration of St. George's Day is not merely a remembrance of a historical figure, but a day that encapsulates the spirit of England and its people. It is a day of pride, unity, and reflexion on the values that define Englishness.

The Order of the Garter and Chivalric Traditions

The Order of the Garter, established by King Edward III in 1350, is the pinnacle of English chivalry and honour. Inspired by the valour of St. George, this prestigious order was created to embody the highest ideals of knighthood, including courage, loyalty, and companionship. The Garter symbolised courage, fidelity, and knightly companionship, echoing the chivalric vocation of knighthood.

Each year, on St. George's Day, the appointments to the Order are announced at St. George's Chapel in Windsor. The King selects up to 24 Knights and Ladies Companion, with current members ranging from former Prime Ministers to Olympic gold medallists. The youngest member is 67 years old, highlighting the order's esteemed status and the maturity expected of its companions.

The Order of the Garter is not merely a relic of the past; it continues to be a living tradition that upholds the chivalric values associated with St. George's legacy.

The connection between St. George and the Order of the Garter is further celebrated through various traditions, such as wearing a red rose and flying the St. George's cross. These acts of remembrance and honour resonate deeply with the English people, serving as a testament to the enduring influence of St. George on the nation's identity.

Modern Observances and Traditions

Modern Observances and Traditions

Parades and Public Festivities

In the heart of London, Trafalgar Square becomes the focal point for St. George's Day celebrations, with a parade that commences amidst the grandeur of this historic location. The procession, adorned with themed floats and marching bands, winds through the city streets, culminating at the iconic Guildhall. This vibrant display of patriotism draws thousands of spectators, each year growing in grandeur and enthusiasm.

Across England, numerous towns and villages partake in the festivities, hosting their own parades featuring traditional Morris dancing, singing, and street parties. These events often extend into local pubs, where food and drink specials commemorate the day, providing a festive atmosphere that encourages community participation and celebration.

The spirit of St. George's Day is encapsulated in the public revelry and communal gatherings that take place across the nation. It is a day where the red and white of the English flag is proudly displayed, and the story of George the Dragon Slayer is retold through various forms of entertainment, including music, dance, and theatrical performances.

Church Services and Religious Observances

The observance of St. George's Day is deeply rooted in the religious traditions of England. Church services play a central role in the commemoration, with many congregations holding special services to honour the patron saint. These services often feature the singing of the hymn 'Jerusalem', an iconic piece of religious and cultural heritage. The day provides an opportunity for reflexion on the virtues of courage and faith that St. George exemplifies.

In addition to church services, religious observances may include processions and the flying of the St. George's Cross, a symbol of England and a testament to the nation's enduring respect for its patron saint. The date, 23 April, is marked by a collective spirit of reverence across the country, as communities come together in a shared expression of national and spiritual identity.

The solemnity of the occasion is matched by the joyous celebration of England's rich religious history, as St. George's Day serves as a reminder of the nation's deep-seated values and traditions.

Culinary Delights and Traditional Fare

St George's Day is not only a time for parades and historical reflexion but also an occasion to indulge in the rich tapestry of English cuisine. Traditional dishes become the centrepiece of celebrations, with families and communities gathering to enjoy time-honoured recipes that have been passed down through generations. These culinary delights are a testament to England's gastronomic heritage and play a pivotal role in the day's festivities.

The enjoyment of traditional English fare is a cornerstone of St George's Day, providing a delicious link to the nation's past.

A variety of dishes are synonymous with St George's Day, each carrying its own story and significance. To give a sense of the variety, here is a list of some quintessential English foods often savoured on this day:

  • Roast beef and Yorkshire puddings
  • Toad-in-the-hole
  • Steamed sponges
  • Fish and chips
  • Shepherd's pie
  • Lancashire hotpot

These dishes not only satisfy the palate but also evoke a sense of national pride and nostalgia. It is a day where the simple act of dining becomes an act of cultural remembrance and celebration.

Cultural Impact and National Identity

Cultural Impact and National Identity

St. George's Day as a Symbol of Englishness

St. George's Day transcends mere historical commemoration, emerging as a profound symbol of Englishness. It is a day when the red and white of the George Cross unfurls with pride across the nation, reflecting a collective identity steeped in valour and resilience. The day's significance is further amplified by the array of patriotic t-shirts that become ubiquitous, with designs ranging from the classic England T Shirt to more specific patriotic t-shirts for men. These garments serve not only as a sartorial nod to the occasion but also as a wearable expression of national pride.

The commercial aspect of the celebration is evident in the proliferation of themed merchandise, including the English Patriotic T Shirt, which has become a staple of the festivities. This commodification, while often critiqued, also plays a role in keeping the tradition alive and relevant in modern society. It is a tangible means through which individuals can engage with and showcase their heritage.

In the spirit of St. George's Day, it is incumbent upon us to reflect on the ways in which we can meaningfully engage with our national heritage, ensuring that the essence of Englishness is celebrated with respect and authenticity.

Promoting Awareness and Education

Despite its historical significance, St. George's Day often receives less attention compared to other national holidays. Local councils, community groups, and social media campaigns play vital roles in raising awareness and encouraging participation in celebrations across England. These efforts are crucial in preserving the traditions associated with St. George's Day and ensuring they remain a vibrant part of English culture.

Organisations such as the Royal Society of St. George (RSSG), English Heritage, and The Mandatory Training Group are at the forefront of promoting and safeguarding English traditions. They organise a variety of events and initiatives, including educational programmes and community activities, to engage the public and foster a deeper understanding of the day's significance.

In the spirit of fostering connections and promoting cultural exchange, St George's College proudly hosts the HMC Projects Scholars' Day. This annual event provides a unique platform for scholars to engage with peers from diverse backgrounds.

To further enhance public engagement, a number of educational resources and materials are made available to schools and institutions. These resources aim to inform and inspire the younger generation about the legacy of St. George and the importance of the day in English heritage.

Comparative Celebrations in Other Nations

While St. George's Day is a quintessentially English celebration, its observance is not confined to England alone. Other nations also honour St. George, albeit in different forms and with varying degrees of fervour. For instance, St. George is also the patron saint of Catalonia in Spain, where the day is known as 'La Diada de Sant Jordi'. It is celebrated with the exchange of books and roses, a tradition that has been embraced by UNESCO as World Book Day.

In the Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. George's Day is a public holiday, reflecting the historical ties with England. This stands in contrast to the UK, where the day is not officially a public holiday. Celebrations in other countries often mirror those in England, with parades, religious services, and the flying of the St. George's cross, but they may also incorporate local customs and traditions that give the day a unique regional flavour.

The global recognition of St. George's Day underscores the widespread cultural impact of the saint's legend, transcending national boundaries and fostering a shared sense of heritage among diverse populations.

The table below provides a snapshot of how St. George's Day is celebrated in various countries, highlighting the commonalities and distinctions in observance:

Country Status Typical Celebrations
England Not a public holiday Parades, church services, flying the St. George's cross
Catalonia (Spain) Not a public holiday Exchange of books and roses, cultural events
Newfoundland and Labrador (Canada) Public holiday Parades, government ceremonies

It is evident that while the essence of honouring St. George remains consistent, the expression of this reverence is moulded by local culture and history.

Contemporary Challenges and Debates

Contemporary Challenges and Debates

Public Holiday Status and Campaigns

The quest for recognising St. George's Day as a public holiday has been a persistent topic of discussion among various groups and individuals who cherish England's cultural heritage. The significance of St. George's Day in the national consciousness has been underscored by campaigns that advocate for its elevation to the status of a bank holiday, akin to other notable dates in the British calendar.

Despite the historical importance of St. George's Day, it often receives less attention compared to other national holidays. Local councils, community groups, and social media campaigns play vital roles in raising awareness and encouraging participation in celebrations across England. This collective effort aims to foster a greater appreciation for the day and its potential as a unifying national celebration.

The decline of major national celebrations such as St. George's Day is a part of a broader narrative that reflects changing societal values and priorities.

In the context of public holidays, St. George's Day presents an opportunity to reflect on national identity and shared values. The ongoing campaigns for public holiday status not only seek to honour England's patron saint but also to revive and strengthen a sense of community and national pride.

Commercialisation vs. Cultural Preservation

The tension between commercialisation and cultural preservation is a recurring theme in the discourse surrounding St. George's Day. On one hand, the proliferation of merchandise and themed products, such as funny T-shirts and hoodies, reflects a growing trend of commodifying cultural symbols. These items, often emblazoned with the cross of St. George or witty slogans, serve as a testament to the day's commercial appeal.

However, there is a growing concern that this commercialisation may overshadow the day's historical and cultural significance. The Royal Society of St. George and similar organisations strive to maintain a balance, ensuring that the essence of the celebration is not lost amidst the sea of products and marketing campaigns. It is imperative to safeguard the integrity of St. George's Day as a cornerstone of English heritage.

The challenge lies in embracing modernity while honouring tradition, fostering a celebration that is both relevant and respectful to its origins.

To this end, a nuanced approach is required, one that promotes the day's cultural aspects while allowing for contemporary expressions of English identity. The debate continues, with advocates for both sides seeking a harmonious resolution that honours the legacy of St. George and the values he represents.

Inclusivity and Multicultural Engagement

The celebration of St. George's Day has evolved to become more inclusive, reflecting the multicultural tapestry of modern England. Efforts to engage all communities in the festivities are crucial for fostering a sense of unity and shared national identity. This inclusivity is not only about participation in parades and events but also about the recognition and integration of diverse cultural narratives within the St. George's Day discourse.

Embracing diversity on St. George's Day means creating spaces where the stories and traditions of all communities are acknowledged and celebrated.

Organisations such as the NHS England have taken steps to ensure that their calendar of events is representative of the diverse local population. This approach to inclusivity can serve as a model for St. George's Day celebrations. By promoting awareness and education around the day, we can ensure that it is a celebration for all, regardless of background or ethnicity.

Engaging with St. George's Day Today

Engaging with St. George's Day Today

Community Events and Participation

In the spirit of fostering community spirit and participation, St George's Day sees a plethora of local events that bring together individuals from all walks of life. Community engagement is at the heart of these celebrations, with activities designed to be inclusive and enjoyable for all ages. From traditional parades to modern interpretations of chivalric games, the day offers a unique opportunity for residents to connect with their local heritage and each other.

One such event is the vibrant parade in Derby, where dragons and knights will take to the streets, creating a festive atmosphere. The procession, led by community musicians, will commence at 11.45am, marking the beginning of a day filled with merriment and historical re-enactments.

The emphasis on community-led initiatives not only honours the legacy of St George but also strengthens the bonds within the society, ensuring that the day's significance resonates beyond mere festivity.

Furthermore, organisations like the Rotary Club of Pinner play a pivotal role in orchestrating events that encapsulate the essence of St George's Day. Their efforts in organising celebrations underscore the importance of volunteerism and community service in keeping traditions alive and relevant.

Educational Opportunities and School Activities

St. George's Day presents a unique opportunity for educational institutions to immerse students in the rich tapestry of English history and culture. Schools across England can seize this occasion to introduce St. George's Day-themed lessons and activities, which not only educate but also instil a sense of national pride and identity among the youth.

Engaging with the narrative of St. George and the dragon, educators can develop creative curricula that span a range of subjects, from history to literature, and even the arts. This multidisciplinary approach allows students to explore the significance of St. George's Day from various perspectives.

To facilitate this educational engagement, a number of resources and support mechanisms are available:

  • Discover and engage with local St. George's Day events and festivals organised by community groups and councils.
  • Seek out resources and support from esteemed organisations such as the Royal Society of St. George (RSSG), English Heritage, and The Mandatory Training Group for enriching St. George's Day celebrations.
  • Integrate St. George's Day-themed modules and activities into educational curricula to captivate learners and facilitate exploration of English history and culture.

Reviving and Innovating Traditions

In the quest to revitalise St. George's Day, innovative approaches are being embraced to keep the spirit of the celebration alive. Community engagement has proven pivotal, with local councils and organisations spearheading initiatives that blend tradition with contemporary culture. For instance, educational institutions are incorporating St. George's Day themes into their curricula, fostering a deeper connection with England's heritage among younger generations.

One notable trend is the incorporation of modern merchandise, such as the 'Dragon T Shirt', into the festivities. These items not only serve as mementos but also help to fund community events and educational programmes. Below is a list of recommendations for those looking to engage with St. George's Day today:

  • Discover and participate in local events and festivals.
  • Support and collaborate with organisations like the RSSG and English Heritage.
  • Integrate St. George's Day activities into educational settings.
  • Consider innovative merchandise, such as the 'Dragon T Shirt', to support the cause.
As we strive to keep St. George's Day relevant, it is essential to strike a balance between honouring tradition and embracing innovation. The day offers a unique opportunity to celebrate English identity while also reflecting on how it can be thoughtfully preserved and adapted for future generations.

As we celebrate St. George's Day, embrace the spirit of England's heritage with our exclusive collection of patriotic T-shirts. From the legendary St. George slaying the dragon to the iconic red and white of the English flag, our designs are perfect for showing your pride on April 23rd. Visit Lion Legion's website today to explore our latest St. George's Day designs and take advantage of our free P&P on UK orders over
49.00. Don't just wear your pride; shout it out loud with a Lion Legion tee!


In summary, St. George's Day is a day of profound cultural and historical significance in England, celebrating the valour and virtues of the nation's patron saint. Despite its rich legacy, there remains a need for heightened awareness and recognition of this day among the English populace. While not a public holiday, the day is marked by traditional festivities and acts as a reminder of England's storied past and national identity. As we reflect on the celebrations and the symbolism of St. George, it is an opportune moment to rekindle the spirit of chivalry and honour that he embodies, and to foster a deeper appreciation for the heritage that shapes the English character.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is St. George's Day?

St. George's Day is a day dedicated to the patron saint of England, Saint George, observed annually on April 23rd. It celebrates the legendary figure known for his bravery and the iconic tale of slaying a dragon.

Why is St. George's Day important?

St. George's Day is important as it serves as a symbol of English national identity and heritage. It's a day to honour the courage and chivalry associated with Saint George and to celebrate English culture and history.

How is St. George's Day celebrated?

St. George's Day is celebrated with various activities, including parades, church services, and public festivities. People may wear a red rose, fly the St. George's Cross flag, and enjoy traditional English food and literature.

Is St. George's Day a public holiday in England?

No, St. George's Day is not a public holiday in England. Despite its historical significance, it does not have the same status as other patron saints' days in the UK, like St. Patrick's Day in Ireland.

What traditional foods are associated with St. George's Day?

Traditional foods enjoyed on St. George's Day include Shepherd's Pie, Yorkshire puddings, fish cakes, and other classic English fare, often reflecting the country's rich culinary heritage.

How can one engage with St. George's Day today?

One can engage with St. George's Day by participating in community events, attending educational activities, and reviving or innovating traditions that pay homage to English culture and the spirit of St. George.