Lisa's week

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Lisa's week: Celebrating St George

St George

We’ve already talked about St David, the Patron Saint of Wales, and St Patrick, the Patron Paint of Ireland so it’s time to talk about good old St George. He’s the Patron Saint of England and we celebrate St George’s Day on April 23rd.

Didn’t see anything in the news? Missed it? Don’t worry. So did I!

Now this is a little confusing because we - the English - all know that he’s the main man, and we all know his flag that represents England. That would be the red cross on a white background that can be seen in many a stadium when the national English football team plays. The concept of St George and the St George’s flag has even become more popular in recent years, but many of us don’t even know when St George’s Day is. It’s not a bank holiday and tends to slip by with barely a mention in the news. So, while St Patrick’s Day has been exported all over the world and is celebrated with much enthusiasm, St George’s Day comes and goes. Although I have a note to remind me about it right here on my computer, even I forgot!

So who was St George? Legend has it that he killed a dragon and saved a princess while serving in the Roman army but he wasn’t English and probably never even set foot in England. He was born in an area now known as Turkey around 280 AD and was a devout Christian. He protested against the pagan Emperor’s persecution of the Christians and found himself imprisoned, tortured and then executed for his beliefs on 23rd April 303 AD.

The flag of St George was adopted by Richard the Lion Heart and brought to England in the 12th century. The flag was worn on the uniforms of the king’s soldiers to identify them and later, St George was made the Patron Saint of England in 1348.

Of course, dragons don’t actually exist so the legend of St George and the Dragon is just that – a legend! The story appears to come from a town called Silene in Libya and the princess, who was due to be sacrificed to the dragon, was saved just in time by either St George himself or a Knight of the Crusades depending on the source you read. The townspeople were so grateful, that they converted to Christianity. This and many other imaginative stories were brought together in the Middle Ages in a book called “Golden Legend” which became hugely popular and continues to be a popular legend today.

In Britain, the George Cross and the George medal are the two highest awards for bravery that a civilian can earn and they both depict the famous scene of St George sitting on his horse and slaying the dragon. It would appear that we all love a good legend!

An interesting fact about St George is that he’s not even exclusively English and is celebrated in such places as Portugal, Romania, Ethiopia and Lithuania. The symbols and coat of arms around this famous man can also be found on flags in cities and countries around the world.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go and have a cup of tea to celebrate my Englishness. I might wave my little St George’s flag while I make it!


What is Lisa's week?

"We’ve (hopefully) been entertaining you so far with the meaning and background of a weekly English idiom and now we’ve decided to expand that a little to give me the chance to share some details that come my way in my daily life as a Business English teacher. I hope to find weekly tidbits of information and experience to tell you about such as British traditions that I (or we) celebrate, or typical mistakes made when speaking English, or even some of the funny things I come across in my daily life. We hope that you’ll enjoy the insight into the life of a Brit in Germany!"


Episode 1: The Queen's 90th birthday

Episode 2: What did you do last Sunday?

Episode 3: What's the best way to answer?

Episode 4: The sound of London

Episode 5: Not just a last resort

Episode 6: Quick tip of the week: advice vs. advise

Episode 7: Title talk

Episode 8: The Union Jack

Episode 9: Why Thursday?

Episode 10: Quick tip of the week - Are you watching or just looking?

Episode 11: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

Episode 12: Don't forget to take you handy to the public viewing!

Episode 13: Up in the Highlands

Episode 14: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends

Episode 15: Pie in the sky 

Episode 16: Through the tunnel

Episode 17: Keep left!

Episode 18: Quick tip of the week - Rise vs. raise vs. arise

Episode 19: How do you say that?

Episode 20: Back to School!

Episode 21: Sweet cravings

Episode 22: Can you change a fiver?

Episode 23: Grabbing some "me time"

Episode 24: Typical Mistakes (part 1)

Episode 25: Fancy a cuppa?

Episode 26: Quip tip of the week - Fell vs. fall etc.

Episode 27: Things that go bump in the night!

Episode 28: Remember, remember the fifth of November, gunpower, treason and plot

Episode 29: What's that badge you're wearing?

Episode 30: Bless you!

Episode 31: What are you thankful for?

Episode 32: Where's the larget Christmas Market outside Germany or Austria?

Episode 33: What's behind the door?

Episode 34: The joy of a Christmas cracker!

Episode 35: Does it all fit on the table?

Episode 36: Seeing in the New Year

Episode 37: How are your resolutions going?

Episode 38: Quick tip of the week - "Popular" false friends - part 2

Episode 39: What will the Year of the Rooster mean for you?

Episode 40: Sweet Valentine

Episode 41: A Reminder

Episode 42: I'll have mine with sugar and lemon juice, please!

Episode 43: The joy of golden daffodils

Episode 44: To correct or not to correct, that is the question

Episode 45: The whole world's going green!

Episode 46: Idiom of the week - Raining cats and dogs

Episode 47: The joke's on you!

Episode 48: Left over from the Middle Ages!

Episode 49: More calendar food-based ponderings

Episode 50: We use German words too