How to celebrate St George’s Day 2023
English’s national day, St George’s Day, has been a muted affair in recent years, not least due to coronavirus restrictions, but there are moves afoot to bring the celebration on to an equal standing with the national days of Scotland, Ireland and Wales with a wealth of events planned to mark the occasion. Here we roundup the best ways you can get out and celebrate St George around the country on April 23.
St George and his day
- St George was a Turkish Christian (born in 270AD) who fought for the Romans under the pagan emperor Diocletian.
- Legend has it that among his many adventures St George slayed a dragon in Silene, Libya, to save the skin of a king’s daughter.
- England’s “Flag of St George” – a red cross on a white background – was introduced by King Richard in 1194.
- St George’s Day was first named in 1222 and became a National Feast Day in 1415.
- St George’s Day takes place on 23 April, which is accepted as being the date of his death in AD 303.
- The celebration St George’s day waned by the end of the 18th century after the union of England and Scotland.
- A traditional custom on St George’s Day is to wear a red rose in one’s lapel. Another custom is to fly or adorn the St George’s Cross flag. It is customary for the hymn Jerusalem to be sung in cathedrals, churches and chapels on St George’s Day, or on the Sunday closest to it.
St George’s Day celebrations, Salisbury, Wiltshire, Sunday 23 April
Salisbury holds an annual St George’s Day pageant, the origins of which are believed to go back to the 13th century, along with modern-day celebrations, a Punch and Judy show and an epic courtroom-style reenactment of St George vs. the dragon.
Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square, London, Sunday April 23
Join the annual St George’s Day celebrations, with food stalls, free activities, including Knight School, and an appearance from St George and the dragon himself, at the Mayor of London’s annual Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square, from noon to 6pm.
St George’s Festival, Wrest Park, Bedfordshire, Saturday 22 April and Sunday 23 April
Witness the ultimate showdown as gallant St George takes on his arch nemesis in England’s most legendary battle at this fabulous weekend of re-enactments where you can immerse yourself in the story of England at the biggest St George’s Day celebration in the country.
St George’s Festival, Leicester, Saturday 22 April
This annual family festival will include music, food, dance and crafts, as well as a dragon hunt trail, puppet shows, storytelling, medieval games and a St George-themed workshop.
Best places to visit in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset