St George's Day used to be a national holiday in England but not now! It is now sometimes celebrated with parades, dancing and other activities. Flags with the image of St George's cross are flown on some buildings, especially pubs, and a few people wear a red rose on their jacket. Church services on the Sunday closest to April 23 often include the hymn 'Jerusalem', written by the poet William Blake. The words describe a supposed visit to Glastonbury, England, by Jesus Christ.
St George was born sometime around the year 280 in what is now Turkey. He was a soldier in the Roman army. He was executed for being a Christian on April 23, 303, and is buried in the town of Lod in Israel.
St George is most widely known for killing a dragon. According to legend, the only well (pozo) in the town of Silene 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 (sorteo). 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.
Years ago, St George's Day was celebrated as much as Christmas. But the celebrations started to end in the 18th century after England had united with Scotland on May 1, 1707. It is considered the national day of England and a lot of people want it to be a public holiday again!