April 23rd St. George's Day, the Patron Saint of England.
St. George's Day is celebrated by wearing a red rose in the lapel and the English Flag (the Cross of St. George) proudly flying from many buildings, including Hungerford Arcade.
St. George was a Roman soldier who, so the story says, killed a dragon! He has been around for a long time and was first written about in England in the 6th or 7th century!
In 1222 The Synod of Oxford declared St. George's Day a feast day in the kingdom of England. Edward III (1327–1377) put his Order of the Garter (founded c. 1348) under the banner of St. George.This order is still the foremost order of knighthood in England and St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle was built by Edward IV and Henry VII in honour of the order. The badge of the Order shows Saint George on horseback slaying the dragon. Froissart observed the English invoking St. George as a battle cry on several occasions during the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453). Certain English soldiers displayed the pennon of St George.
In his play Henry V, William Shakespeare famously invokes the Saint at Harfleur prior to the battle of Agincourt (1415):
"Follow your spirit, and upon this charge Cry 'God for Harry, England, and Saint George!'"
At Agincourt many believed they saw him fighting on the English side.
St George's Day was first officially celebrated in England as a holiday in 1399 and was a major feast and national holiday on a par with Christmas from the early 15th century. The Cross of St George was flown in 1497 by John Cabot on his voyage to discover Newfoundland and later by Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh. In 1620 it was the flag that was flown by the Mayflower when the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth Massachusetts.
Incidentally, for all of you who have forgotten, William Shakespeare died on 23rd April 1616.