St George's Day|GianFranco Belloli|KnowLedge World Network|Activities|KNOWLEDGE CAPITAL

  • 2019.05.15
  • St George's Day
In the United Kingdom every calendar marks the date April 23rd as St George's Day, the patron saint of England, although it is usually celebrated the weekend prior to this date which, this year, fell on Easter weekend.
It is a very important day for the English people because the cross of St. George is precisely the symbol on the English flag and there is no day more English than that of St. George.
George, is the name of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth, and also of five other sovereigns, including that George III who lost the American colonies.

Legend has it that the saint killed a dragon, although where he found a dragon here in Great Britain remains a mystery (although it is worth noting that he is also the patron saint of Catalonia in Spain, Ethiopia and various other regions of the world).
Legend has it that George gained fame and honour after killing a dragon that terrorized the countryside and was about to devour a beautiful princess. The knight managed to survive by invoking the cross and, as a sign of gratitude, the peasants, victims of continuous dragon attacks, converted to Christianity trying to imitate that indomitable courage that the young hero taught them.

Among the many events of the two-day celebrations, the St. George parade is one of the most anticipated moments by Londoners.
The parade traditionally starts at Armorers Hall on Coleman Street and continues until it reaches St. Paul's cathedral.
Each year both the paratrooper regiment and military vehicles take part in the event.
But not only that, St. George used to parade among the curious crowd riding his horse, accompanied by the figure of the king, the princess and the dragon.
Music lovers can also find inspiration in the public gardens of St. Georges, near Kings Cross Station, where numerous outdoor groups perform.
Finally, the English people decided to match William Shakespeare's birthday with St. George's Day as the birth date of the famous English poet was never discovered.
So, on this April day, you can also take part in fun events along the Thames near the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre organised to pay homage to the poet.
The traditional festival in Trafalgar square anticipates the celebration to Saturday which this year fell on April 20th.
It is characterised by live entertainment - both traditional and modern - with dancers and acoustic music sets. It is basically a family event, with lots of crafts workshops and other themed activities to participate in.
The food market displays traditional English dishes and street vendors sell their wares at the craft market.
The spectacular market is decorated in the Square Mile and here the Morris Men musicians perform in a truly picturesque atmosphere with a brass quartet.
Some stalls and shops also have dedicated events going on during the afternoon.
The Vauxhall Trust hosted an epic Saint George Festival at its Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens, this year on Easter Sunday April 21st.
The focal point is the tournament, a veritable medieval merry-go-round with armours and shields.
We go back to medieval times with this event and one can try and sign up for archery, falconry and there is a dog show.

London guided walks are organised with a unique tour in search of the silent dragons that supposedly populate the city of London.
I participated in one of these ‘tours’ and they are actually a lot of fun and they are very interesting because you can discover the different meanings of dragons in folklore around the world, not only in England.
The tour also includes basic information on the Roman history in the Kingdom, on the Great Fire of London, on the Harry Potter saga and on the Tower of London.


St. George’s celebrations in London


St. George’s celebrations in London

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  • GianFranco Belloli
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I moved to London over 2 years ago but only last year I started writing for a local newsletter for Expats in London telling about my experience in this big city and giving advice to newcomers. London is a very dynamic city and has a lot for everyone but it’s important to have a local point of view to navigate it without getting lost. Let me be your guide to hidden London!

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