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Saint George’s Day

As we all know, Saint George is the Patron Saint of England, and on April the 23rd Saint George’s day is making an appearance. But why do we celebrate our Patron Saint on this day? Also, where did our Patron Saint come from? Well, in short, he was born in around 280 AD and died in 303 AD; on the 23rd of April. This is where we get the day on which Saint George has his day of celebration. He was famously a Roman Soldier who slew a dragon, and is known throughout most religions as being a courageous and charismatic figure. He was also one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. However, I am going to give a more detailed account of Saint George, his life and why he is celebrated on the 23rd of April every year throughout this report.

The History of Saint George’s Day is one that dates back around 800 years, because in 1222 the council of Oxford declared the day of Saint George’s death, 23rd of April, to be Saint George’s day. However, it was not until 1348 that he became the Patron Saint of England! Also, Saint George’s Day was not declared to be a feast day until 1415, and it lasted right up to the 18th century as a well regarded holiday. But, since the union of England and Scotland the holiday is no longer considered a national holiday and a lot of people even forget about it! Here at Fancy That we think that everyone should celebrate Saint George’s Day to show the true Patriot inside!

Traditional dress on Saint George’s Day is to wear an England flag pin on your lapel or to fly an England flag from your house. On the other hand, in recent years, dress for Saint George’s Day has become crazier and more fun, which I think is a brilliant thing! Nowadays people like to fly flags from their cars, wear red and white clothing, paint their faces and put on England flag wigs. In the last few years it has become more popular to go out and celebrate Saint George’s Day, so the sales of costumes and accessories to do with the day have also increased.

There are many other countries that also celebrate Saint George’s Day; such as Canada, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Jordan, Lebanon, Spain and Syria. Spain is the country that celebrates it almost as avidly as England, with different celebrations going on in different regions of the country. Catalonia, a large region in Spain, celebrates with massive festivals and huge meals on the 23rd of April, and the day is treated very much like Valentine’s Day. Couples exchange gifts and go on special nights out to celebrate the “Day of the Rose” or “El dia de la rosa” in Spanish. Other places in Spain, such as Valencia celebrate in a very similar way.

Saint George himself is even mentioned in the book “Dracula” by Bram Stoker, and Saint George’s Day is said to be the day when evil things occur, starting at midnight. However, in this book, Saint George’s Day is written to be on the 5th of May, which follows the Gregorian calendar. All Orthodox countries recognise May the 5th as being Saint George’s Day, instead of the traditional date, set of 1222, which is April 23rd.

As Saint George’s Day approaches, many people are starting to fly their flags and buy in their face paint. But what will you be doing? Many people don’t even recognise Saint George’s Day as being a holiday, whereas others throw big parties and go crazy over the day. However, whatever everyone is doing, let’s not forget about George the Dragon slayer, and where his story comes from.

Written by Zak Riding.

 

 

 

The History of Fancy Dress

 

The use of fancy dress, whether it is at a party, for fundraising, or just for fun, has been growing in popularity for years. But the question is; where did it all come from? Fancy dress costumes have been influenced by decades gone by, outfits used by celebrities and films that have come and gone, but the origins of the tradition tell us the true story of where it all stemmed from.

 

Firstly, the origins of fancy dress parties in the United Kingdom come from the 18th Century, which is when people used to hold lavish masked balls, and the more extravagant the mask, the more recognition you would receive at the party. However, the conventional fancy dress parties that are seen today take most of their inspiration and guidance from those held in the Victorian Era, usually by those who were middle to upper class, and others such as Lords and Dukes.

Since the 1990’s, Britain has seen a gigantic uptake in the sales and purchases of fancy dress costumes due to there being much more availability and the ease of buying on the rise. This is thanks to the production of the materials in the Far East (China and Taiwan being the main providers). Popular costumes in the UK are usually based on books, such as Harry Potter and Where’s Wally, but others such as many Disney characters as well as other film characters are in high demand too.

Fancy Dress is popular all year round in the United Kingdom, and has even been used by the Royal Family to celebrate their birthdays. Prince Harry used an “Out of Africa” theme for his 21st birthday, and Princess Beatrice had an 1888 themed birthday party of her 18th. This just goes to show that no matter how you live, fancy dress is good fun for all, wouldn’t you agree?

However, the Italians have been using fancy dress in celebrations for a lot longer than the Brits, with their use of decorative masks and costumes dating back to the 16th Century! They used these costumes to show their happiness in the celebration of Carnival, which was highly regarded in the Renaissance era, and this continued until the fall of the Venetian Republic at the end of the 18th Century.

Over in America, fancy dress is a much bigger deal at times like Halloween! The Americans use this day to go over the top with decorations, candy and the craziest fancy dress costumes imaginable! Almost all ages dress up for Halloween in the States; the younger ones to go out trick or treating, and the teenagers and adults to go to costume parties. This is considered an American tradition, and has been being done for decades. There have also been stories that some costumes have been so realistic that people answering the door have had to be taken to hospital due to being that scared by the person wearing it, as well as one man who was put in prison because he was dressed as a killer and the convenience store clerk thought he was in danger!

But by far the oldest users of fancy dress costumes in celebrations are the French, who have been using costumes since the late 14th Century; now that is dedication! The French were another group that decided to use masks to show their appreciation and celebration of the party host, and again the rule was: The more elaborate the mask, the more praise said person would receive.

But all in all, fancy dress and the parties that are themed around the different branches of it are always growing, and not only will the range of costumes be forever expanding thanks to more movies being released every week, as well as more celebrities coming to the surface, but we at Fancy That don’t ever think the world will ever stop loving the wonderful whimsy that fancy dress parties give to everyone!

 

 

Author Zak Riding (Fancy That)

 

 

 

March 2013

 

 

 

 

HALLOWEEN

 

Halloween (or Hallowe'en) is an annual holiday observed on October 31, which commonly includes activities such as trick-or-treating, attending costume parties, carving jack-o'-lanterns, bonfires, apple bobbing, visiting haunted attractions, playing pranks, telling scary stories, and watching horror films.

Trick-or-treating is a customary celebration for children on Halloween. Children go in costume from house to house, asking for treats such as candy or sometimes money, with the question, "Trick or treat?" The word "trick" refers to a (mostly idle) "threat" to perform mischief on the homeowners or their property if no treat is given. In some parts of Scotland children still go guising. In this custom the child performs some sort of trick, i.e. sings a song or tells a ghost story, to earn their treats.

The practice of dressing up in costumes and begging door to door for treats on holidays dates back to the Middle Ages and includes Christmas wassailing. Trick-or-treating resembles the late medieval practice of souling, when poor folk would go door to door on Hallowmas (November 1), receiving food in return for prayers for the dead on All Souls' Day (November 2). It originated in Ireland and Britain, although similar practices for the souls of the dead were found as far south as Italy. Shakespeare mentions the practice in his comedy The Two Gentlemen of Verona (1593), when Speed accuses his master of "puling [whimpering or whining] like a beggar at Hallowmas."

In Scotland and Ireland, Guising — children disguised in costume going from door to door for food or coins — is a traditional Halloween custom, and is recorded in Scotland at Halloween in 1895 where masqueraders in disguise carrying lanterns made out of scooped out turnips, visit homes to be rewarded with cakes, fruit and money.[  The practice of Guising at Halloween in North America is first recorded in 1911, where a newspaper in Kingston, Ontario reported children going "guising" around the neighborhood.

Halloween costumes are traditionally modeled after supernatural figures such as monsters, ghosts, skeletons, witches, and devils. Over time, the costume selection extended to include popular characters from fiction, celebrities, and generic archetypes such as ninjas and princesses.

Dressing up in costumes and going "guising" was prevalent in Scotland at Halloween by the late 19th century. Costuming became popular for Halloween parties in the US in the early 20th century, as often for adults as for children. The first mass-produced Halloween costumes appeared in stores in the 1930s when trick-or-treating was becoming popular in the United States.

Halloween costume parties generally fall on, or around, 31 October, often falling on the Friday or Saturday prior to Halloween.

 

Wikipedia.org