St George's Day around the world

St George's Day around the world Credit: Reuters

While many feel a fierce national pride for the St George's cross and the patron saint's day (23rd April) England in fact shares St George's with a host of other countries and places.

Each has its own unusual customs surrounding his feast day, here is a look at some of the more surprising and unexpected customs surrounding St George's Day.

  • Catalonia, Spain

A display of roses forms part of the traditional celebration of Sant Jordi's day Credit: Reuters

St George (Sant Jordi) is associated with several places in Spain but one of the most colourful is the Catalonia capital. A public holiday is held in the area and has several similarities with Valentine's Day, with roses and books being exchanged by lovers.

Barcelona's most popular street Las Ramblas becomes awash with flower and book sellers. Catalonia has managed to export the tradition as UNESCO adopted the date as World Book Day.

  • Russia

People wearing orange Ribbons of St. George in Moscow. Credit: Reuters

The Russian Orthodox Church uses the Julian Calendar so St Geoge's Day is celebrated on the same day but it is 6th May, not 23rd April.

As well as this date Russians also mark the consecration of the Church of St George on 26th November. This was traditionally the time of year when peasants were permitted to move to a different land owner.

While this tradition has died out the Ribbon of St George is still one of the most respected Russian military honours. The black and orange striped ribbon is also used by civilians as a patriotic symbol. It has been seen again recently displayed by separatists in Ukraine as a Russian symbol.

  • Albania

A man throws twigs in a bonfire Credit: Reuters

Albanians celebrate the day by going out and lighting a fire and playing around it as a sign of joy.

  • Bulgaria

People roast lambs on a spit for St George's Day in Bulgaria. Credit: Reuters

Roasting a whole lamb is traditional on St George's Day in Bulgaria as he is the patron saint of shepherds. It is seen as a day when evil enchantments can be broken and a blessed day when the saint blesses the crop and morning dew, so many walk in the early morning to wash their face in the fresh dew.

  • Croatia

Croatians also use fire to mark St George's Day which is considered the first day of Spring. In the slavic tradition girls are dressed as goddesses in leaves and sing for locals.

  • England

A group of Morris Dancers perform as part of St George's Day celebrations in Leadenhall Market, in the City financial district of London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

In the early 15th century the day was celebrated with a major public holiday and was on a par with Christmas.It was only after the union of Scotland and England that the St George's celebrations waned.

One, mostly unobserved, St George's custom is to wearing a red rose in your lapel. The hymn Jerusalem is still often sung and Morris Dancers are also usually much in evidence around England.