Tomorrow is St. George’s Day – soldier, martyr, patron saint of England, Catalonia, Genoa, Istanbul, Moscow and protector of saddle makers, shepherds, farmers, Boy Scouts and (perhaps strangely) people with several different diseases we prefer not to mention here. In total, more than 50 different reasons for celebrating a man who may not have existed according to some theories and if he did, certainly was not English (or Catalan, for that matter). But on with the suggestions!
- Find out about World Book and Copyright Day, linked to the Catalan tradition of giving books and roses for Sant Jordi.
The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George‘s Day (also 23 April) in Catalonia, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses. In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Miguel de Cervantes, Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.
- Read biographies of what is known and supposed about St. George - Saints SQPN – BBC
- See how depictions of George have changed over the centuries.
- Check out the Sydney Rugby League team St. George Illawarra Dragons
- See the famous speech from Shakespeare’s Henry V – Act 3, Scene 1 – that catapulted George to fame in English history or read the whole play.
SCENE I. France. Before Harfleur.
Alarum. Enter KING HENRY, EXETER, BEDFORD, GLOUCESTER, and Soldiers, with scaling-ladders
KING HENRY V
Or close the wall up with our English dead.
The game’s afoot:
Follow your spirit, and upon this charge
Exeunt. Alarum, and chambers go off
- Visit the City of St. George, Utah –
- Look at a satellite photo of St. George’s, Bermuda
- Find out about the Guild of St George, Interactive theatre company.
- See what the local Catalan government have lined up for Sant Jordi.
- Check out the latest collection by UK fashion house The Duffer of St. George.
- UPDATED 23/04/10 – Rob Hawley from the UK was kind enough to point out that we forgot to mention the 4th Skipton Beer Festival, which runs from the 22nd to the 24th. It is organised by CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale and you can find more info here. Thanks Rob!
Strange Random St. George Quote:
“St George he was for England, / And before he killed the dragon / He drank a pint of English ale / Out of an English flagon.” G. K. Chesterton
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- Daily Dialogue — January 11, 2010 (gointothestory.com)
- Theater review: ‘Henry V’ asks, ‘Ain’t war grand?’ (seattletimes.nwsource.com)