Thursday, April 25, 2013

St. George: A Folk Hero of Faith

The celebration of St. George’s Day occurs in several countries around the world, including  Spain, Libya, Canada and Croatia. On this day, people dress up in red and white, and participate in folk dance and enjoy medieval feasts. This day is commemorative of the martyrdom of St. George. This Christian Saint day is generally celebrated on April 23, because that is the day that George died in 303 A.D.

There are many myths and legends about St. George and what he accomplished in his lifetime. It is said that he was born in Eastern Turkey, and moved to Rome to become a solider. After his service in the military, he faced a major religious conflict in Palestine. He refused to recant his faith as a Christian during a time of persecution of those who followed the Christian faith. Therefore the Emperor ordered for his beheading for his dedication to his faith. Christians around the world recognize his bravery, and he is immortalized in the hearts of many European, Canadian, and Middle Eastern people who share his faith.

Today, St. George is the Patron Saint of England. His feast day is celebrated annually, and individuals participate in folk events. England represents St. George Day as a feast day for all to enjoy music, food and patriotic unity. Spain also celebrates the feast day of Saint George with great enthusiasm. For example, in Catalonia, Spain the Christian people celebrate “La Diada de Sant Jordi” annually. St. George’s Day is a celebration of loved ones. In the myth of St. George slaying the dragon, he save the princess and presented her with a red rose. This day is now spent giving gifts to sweethearts, friends or coworkers. Millions of roses are exchanged on this day, as well as thousands of books.

The exchange of books as holds significance for the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural organization that declared this same day, April 23, International Day of the Book. Roses have been traditionally involved since the middle ages, and in more recent history books are traded gifts as recognition for writers Miguel Cervantes and William Shakespeare who died in April 1616.

Overall, this feast day represents faith and goodwill. Those who celebrate St. George’s Day commemorate his heroism and commitment to the Christian Church.

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