St's George day in Brazil. Image of Saint George riding a horse with his sword.

Good morning! In our Dica today, we are going to learn about St. George’s Day in Brazil, also known as Ogum.

The holiday of St. George’s Day in Brazil

April 23rd is a holiday in honor of St  George, for this is the date of his birthday. On this day, religious people usually pray for St George, asking him for courage to face their problems, because he represents the image of the warrior.

Though it’s a holiday, on April 23rd, services work normally except in the State of Rio de Janeiro. This was decided in 2008, by the Governor of the State, Sérgio Cabral Filho.

Who was St George?

São Jorge is the patron saint of many places in the world: England, Portugal, Georgia, Catalonia, Lithuania, Moscow and, extra-officially, the city of Rio de Janeiro (title given to São Sebastião), in addition to being the patron saint of The Scouts, Corinthians Paulista (Football team) and the Cavalry of the Brazilian Army.

Jorge da Capadócia or Jorge de Lida is one of the most popular saints in Brazil. He is a representation of the fight against evil and bad energies that could be brought on our friends and family.

He was a Roman soldier that lived between the years of 270-300CE approximately. His influence in Brazil came along with the colonization from Portugal. Saint George is also worshiped in African-based religions such as Umbanda. In Umbanda he is synchronized in the form of Ogum.

Devotion to Saint George grew in Brazil for the slaves who, forbidden to worship their Orixás (gods/entities), began to disguise their requests and rituals as ceremonies to Catholic saints outside the churches, and associated the image of Saint George with Ogum. Tradition says that the spots in the moon represent the miraculous saint, his horse and his sword ready to defend those who seek his help.

The tale of Saint George and the Dragon

Saint George is usually represented as a man riding a horse with a sword. This representation comes from the tale of Saint George and the Dragon. The tale says that he fought and killed a dragon that scared and murdered inhabitants of a city. The king of this city announced that the one who could kill the dragon would be able to marry his daughter.

One of the explanations about his death is that after he killed the dragon, the King didn’t want him to marry his daughter due to his Christian faith. At that time persecution of Christians was common and so he was put to death.

St George’s prayer

As we said, it’s very common to pray for St George on this day. Let’s learn how:

Glorioso São Jorge, tribuno militar e cavaleiro romano, diante de vós havia pela frente uma carreira brilhante. Mas a fé vos garantiu que o vosso dever era lutar por Cristo. E vós, protestando contra a perseguição do imperador Diocleciano, trocastes a espada de soldado pela cruz de Jesus. tombastes mártir da fé, e o vosso martírio foi o golpe que transpassou a garganta do dragão da maldade. Alcançai para nós, perseverança até o fim e muita fé na graça de Deus. Amém

How to celebrate St. George’s Day in Brazil?

During this holiday religious people gather with family and friends to celebrate this honorable saint. People usually go to church and pray for protection and willingness to overcome their problems. Also there is the tradition of making a feijoada and setting off fireworks, among other types of celebrations.

Did you know that Saint George is also related to Brazilian samba? A lot of well known sambistas (samba players) make songs talking about Saint George. This happens because he is known to protect people from the evil eye and negative energies, seeking peace and health, which are very present themes in the samba culture. That’s why on this holiday you can find a lot of rodas de samba (people gathering to play live samba) taking place all over the city and celebrating the saint, as George or Ogum, and black culture itself.

Now that we know more about St. George’s Day in Brazil, how about practicing a bit of Brazilian culture and language? If you have any doubts about Portuguese, come talk to us at Rio & Learn. You can schedule a online Portuguese class and we’ll help you with any doubts you may have.

Exercise about St. George’s Day in Brazil

Read the sentences below and check V for verdadeiro (true) and F for falso (false):

  1. (   ) O dia 23 de abril é feriado em todo o Brasil.
  2. (   ) O feriado de São Jorge foi decretado em 2008.
  3. (   ) São Jorge nasceu no dia 23 de Abril.
  4. (   ) São Jorge foi governador do Rio de Janeiro.
  5. (   ) Pessoas religiosas fazem uma oração para São Jorge no feriado.
  6. (   ) Sua imagem é associada a um cavalo, espada e um urso.
  7. (   ) Na Umbanda ele é representado pelo Ogum.
  8. (   ) Acredita-se que sua imagem pode ser vista na lua.
  9. (   ) Na história ele ficou conhecido por matar um dragão.
  10. (   ) Ele é um santo pouco conhecido e cultuado no Brasil.

That’s all for today, galera!
Hope you all have a nice holiday and we’ll meet again in our next Dica!

A big hug from Rio & Learn!
Tchauzinho!

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Click in the links bellow to see more related Dicas

Holidays in Brazil
Independence Day in Brazil
History of Tiradentes
Holiday in Portuguese

Answers

  1. F
  2. V
  3. V
  4. F
  5. V
  6. F
  7. V
  8. V
  9. V
  10. F

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