Feast Day of St. George

Illumination from the 15th century. Feast day of St. George is celebrated on April 23rd the day of St Geroge's death.

Feast Days (and Holy Days) are days celebrated to commemorate the sacred mysteries and events in memory of the Virgin Mother of Christ or His apostles, martyrs and saints. These days are celebrated by special services or festivals. Ever religion has feasts but none are so rich or judiciously constructed as the system of festive seasons of the Catholic Church. The succession of these seasons form the ecclesiastical year documented on the liturgical calendar.

The oldest ecclesiastical feasts are the Jewish solemnities of Easter and Pentecost. Together with 'The Lord's Day they were the only universal Christian feasts into the third century. Epiphany and Christmas were added in the fourth century and in the sixth and seventh century the feasts of the Blessed Virgin were added (Assumption and the Immaculate Conception). The calendar grew because bishops were given the right to establish new feasts. The Statutes of Bishop Sonnatius of Reims in 620 lists eleven feasts; the Statutes of St. Boniface mention nineteen days. In ninth century England feasts were confined to Christmas, Epiphany, the three days of Easter, Assumption, St. Peter and Paul, St. Gregory and All Saints Day. As the number of recognized saints increased through the first half of the Middle Ages, eventually, every day of the year listed at least one saint. Many days listed two or more. Eventually some saints were removed but today some days are reserved to one or more saints.

 

The Judgement of St George 1.07m x 0.53m by Bernardo Martorell 1400-52 dating c 1430-1435

The Judgement of St George
1.07m x 0.53m by Bernardo Martorell 1400-52 dating c 1430-1435

St Geroge Woodcarving

St Geroge Woodcarving

There are two categories of saints listed in the liturgical calendar. Martyrs and Confessors. Martyrs are considered to have died in the Lord's service and were given feast days on the day of their deaths. Initially, confessors were not given saint's days.

St. George who was a martyr and one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers has a feast day on April 23rd, the anniversary of his death by beheading.

In 1969, Saint George's feast
was reduced to an optional memorial in the Roman Catholic calendar so the solemnity of his commemoration depends purely on local observance. However, St. George Day is celebrated by several nations and cities of which Saint George is patron saint. These include, England, Portugal, Georgia, Bulgaria, Bosnia and the Republic of Macedonia, and the cities of Moscow in Russia, Genova in Italy and Beirut in Lebanon.

In Palestine the feast of St. George is celebrated in the Monastery of St. George in al-Khader near Bethlehem. It is also known as 'Georgemas'.

In Great Britain St. George Day is a national holiday. April 23, the traditional day of St. George's death is a provincial government holiday in Newfoundland, Canada.

The country of Georgia celebrates the feast day of St. George on November 10. The Russian Orthodox Church celebrates the dedication of the Church of St. George in Kiev by Yaroslav I the Wise in 1051 on November 26.

On April 23, Boy Scouts remind themselves of their Promise and Scout Law. The Sunday nearest to St. George's Feast is an annual occasion for specialty ceremonies where Scouts reaffirm their Promise and acknowledge the Scout Law in a national act of dedication.


A traditional custom of April 23 is to wear a red rose in one's lapel. Some areas claim St. George to have been a very romantic person; the red being his color, the rose being a symbol of his love. Another custom is to adorn the flag of St. George with garlands or some manner of that sore.

An English tradition of St. George's Day
involves the Most Noble Order of the Garter. The latest Ladies and Knights of the Garter are officially announced on April 23 from Buckingham Palace.

The town of Tryayna, located in the Balkan Mountain central part of Bulgaria, is known for its many architectural monuments, mountain nature and its importance as one of the center of the Bulgarian National Revival Period. Legend holds that on St. George's Day, 1808, the Tryayna master Dimitra Oshanetsa and his journeyman Ivan Bochukovetsa competed by carving the ceilings in two of the rooms of the Dasklova House. The competitors carved two suns on the ceiling. The journeyman's sun symbolizes youth; the master's sun symbolizes wisdom. Both remain in the ceiling today. The bet was won by the master but it took six months to complete. Since the wood carving bet has become a yearly tradition.

Woodcarving surrounding the St. George Story and especially George and the Dragon were also an annual English tradition.

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