St George’s Day is also known as the Feast of Saint George, and is a celebration of Saint George, the patron saint of England. So, if you are staying in accommodation Paddington London over the festivities, it goes without saying that you will want to join in on them. Here’s everything you need to know to make that possible.
When is it?
Thursday, 23 April 2020
Who is Saint George?
It is all well and good knowing when the celebrations are taking place, but it is also important to know why you are celebrating. Saint George of legend saved his countrymen from a fiery beast and rescued a princess before she was a dragon’s canopy, helped only by the strength of the Holy Cross which he prayed to. To honour him, a great number of civilians converted to Christianity. The story in historical data strays somewhat from legend, though the conversion end remains the same.
Who celebrates St George’s Day?
Though celebrated heartily in England, England is not the only country who celebrates this patron saint. Other nations include Canada, Croatia, Portugal, Cyprus, Greece, Georgia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and the Republic of Macedonia.
Where to celebrate?
The primary location to celebrate, as is the case with the Irish St Patrick’s Day, is at the Feast of St George in Trafalgar Square. When the mayor of London is throwing the party, you can expect it to be a ruddy good show! Expect red and white decor, and plenty of street stalls selling food reminiscent of that which was accessible in 13th century England.
If you are celebrating St George’s Day traditionally, you can expect to do some Morris Dancing. It is an English folk dance: it involves clacking sticks, bell padded shins, swords and handkerchiefs, as well as a rhythmic stamp-stamp of the feet. It is understood that the name originates from the word “moor”, referring to North African moors, conquerors of the majority of Spain during the Middle Ages.
There isn’t quite as set a menu for St George’s Day as there is for St Patrick’s Day, or Scotland’s St Andrew’s Day, but that is only seemingly the case because the majority of traditional English dishes have been wholly incorporated into pub culture. For instance, a classic toad in the hole (pork sausages in a tray-sized Yorkshire pudding), or a chicken pot pie with mash, or a rich, creamy fish pie, would all be considered perfectly suitable for a traditional St George’s Day feast.
The Lamb & Flag
The Lamb & Flag in Covent Garden has been around since 1772, which was called The Coopers Arms until 1833 when it undertook a name change. The history can be seen in the very brickwork, making this pub a must-visit if you are after some cracking traditional pub food in a place that has been serving it for many years. Between the steak and mushroom shortcrust pie, served with mash, veggies and red wine gravy, and the crispy-battered fish and chips, with iconic mushy peas, tartare sauce and lemon, you can’t go wrong with these English staples.
Address: 33 Rose St, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9EB
The Prospect of Whitby
The Prospect of Whitby is another jolly good English choice when it comes to a pub-grub outlet, retaining an unending sense of class despite being the oldest riverside tavern in London, built 200-odd years before The Lamb & Flag in 1520. They keep up with the times despite their age, so you could opt to order some pulled pork loaded nachos, but the real heart-warmer is the traditional English fare which will help you celebrate St George’s Day in style: think fish and chips, think gammon, egg and chips, think sausage and mash.
Address: 57 Wapping Wall, Wapping, London E1W 3SH
Flying the flag of Saint George
The flag of Saint George is also known as the English flag – a simple geometric red cross on a white background. If you are looking to really get into the spirit of things, you could fly a little flag – or wear one if you are feeling particularly invested. An English sports jersey also does the trick just fine.
Pin a rose to your breast
The rose is a beacon-head of English symbolism and doubles up as a wonderful broach or shirt-lapel. The reason it is a symbol so iconically revered is because of St George – there were roses present at his death, and pinning one to your breast is a sign of acknowledgment and tribute.
St George’s Day Concert by The Band of The Coldstream Guards
This is, to some extent, as simple as it sounds: The Coldstream Guards make up a band and put on a St George’s Day concert. It is particularly special, as it is a one-night-only type of thing and invites Her Majesty’s Household Division, the gems of the English Regiment, a critical part of the Guards Division, the proud Foot Guards regiments of the British Army, to perform with Thomas Nielson, who is a soloist Salvation Army trumpeter who won BBC Radio 2 Young Brass Award 2018. It takes place at Wellington Barracks.
St. George’s Day Show Matinee With Full Afternoon Tea
Though the former is the more traditional of options, an alternative but equally enchanting activity is taking place at Brick Lane Music Hall. It also happens to include full afternoon tea, meaning it combines another English tradition into the mix to make for one helluva patriotic day.
So amidst your lounging in The Shaftesbury Marble Arch Suits, and your top-notch Shaftesbury hotels afternoon tea, make sure you make time to celebrate one of the UK’s most jovial days of the year – not only the UK, but a number of other countries too. It is a fun, cultural day to sink your teeth into and there is plenty of folklore and dancing to keep you thoroughly entertained.