St. George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier and rose up through the ranks of the Roman army, eventually becoming a personal guard to the Emperor Diocletian. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
St George is known for slaying a dragon. According to legend, the only well in the town of Silene (thought to be in Libya) was guarded by a dragon. In order to get water, the inhabitants of the town had to offer a human sacrifice every day to the dragon. The person to be sacrificed was chosen by lots. On the day that St George was visiting, a princess had been selected to be sacrificed. However, he killed the dragon, saved the princess and gave the people of Silene access to water. In gratitude, they converted to Christianity. It is thought that the dragon represents a certain type of pagan belief that included the sacrifice of human beings.
St George’s Day was once celebrated as widely as Christmas. By the end of the 18th century after England had united with Scotland on May 1, 1707, the celebrations slowed. In recent times, there has been a push, involving campaigns and petitions, to make the day a public holiday in England.
St George is the patron saint of a number of other places, such as Bulgaria, Ethiopia, Georgia, Greece, Portugal and Russia. He is also remembered in some regional holidays, such as in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Canada and among the Gorani people who live in the mountains in the Balkans ( region of Southeast Europe) and were converted to Islam many centuries ago, but still observe St George’s Day. Around the world, a number of days are devoted to St George, including April 23 and dates in November and December of the Gregorian calendar.
Here are some paintings and sculptures of St. George slaying the dragon. NOTE: I tried to find the artists names, however most of the websites/etc. that I found them on had little to no information on them. If you know any of the artists names or anything else about the art, please contact me or leave a comment on this post and I will add it to the respective panting or sculpture. Thanks!
MODERN DAY CELEBRATION
On the Sunday after St. George’s Day, People in Germany ride their horses on the mountain Auer to celebrate the Patron Saint of horses, St. George.
Several hundred riders and their horses almost a dozen bands and well over a thousand civilians come to Limpach (Germany) to ask for help from Saint George. The procession starts at 8 a.m. moving through the festively decorated village and continues on a circular path through the Höger forest and back again to Limpach. Afterwards the horses and riders gather together with the watchers on the fairground adjacent to the church for a service. This started in February of the year 1925 and is an annual event.