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Life around the world

Did you know it's Saint George's Day?

by : 
RosemaryM

Shamefully, for many English people the answer to this question will be 'no'. We get very excited about Saint Patrick's Day, and then completely forget that we have our own national day! For me, it's easy to remember the date as it's also my grandma's birthday. 

Saint George is the patron saint of England. According to legend, a dragon lived in a lake near a town. People were scared of the dragon and every day they would feed it two sheep. If there weren't enough sheep, a child (chosen at random) would be fed to the dragon instead! One day, the king's daughter was chosen. The king didn't want to lose his daughter; he tried offering money to the townspeople. They didn't want the money and insisted his daughter must be fed to the dragon. The princess waited for the dragon by the lake. Saint George rode by on his horse; he offered to save the princess. He used a cross to injure the dragon before leading it back to the town. He said that he would kill the dragon if the people adopted the Christian faith. The people agreed, and George slayed the dragon.

Over the years, different versions of the legend have been told. There are lots of paintings and sculptures depicting Saint George. The English flag, which is white with a red cross, is known as the Saint George's Cross. Although it is an important day in the Christian calendar, it is a day which passes virtually unnoticed in the UK. It is not a national holiday, nor is it a day with many celebrations. Some towns and cities host special events; English flags might be seen in pubs across Britain. Organisations such as English Heritage are trying to encourage the British public to celebrate England's national day. Hopefully, their work will pay off. I think it's a huge shame that so many people are oblivious to our national day!

Note from Editor: If you want to watch a video about Saint George and the dragon from our Kids site here's the link: http://learnenglishkids.britishcouncil.org/en/short-stories/george-and-the-dragon

Discussion

Did you know the story of George and the dragon? Does your country have a national day? 

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