Quick question, why do Barcelona have the England flag in their crest? Even English clubs don’t have it, so why Barcelona, a club that plays in the Spanish league?
So first of all, that red cross on the white background on the Barcelona crest that you think is the England flag is actually St. George’s cross. The England flag even gets its origin from that cross, but that is a story for another day.
Anyway, it’s still a relevant question:
Why does Barcelona have the Cross of St. George on its crest? St. George wasn’t even Spanish.
So, let’s start from the very top; who is St. George and why does he have a cross that is significant to people in Barcelona?
St. George, who was of Greek origin, was a member of the Roman army during his day. He was a christian and still stands as one of the most venerated martyrs in the history of christendom. He was canonized after he chose his faith over his life. He refused to renounce his Christian faith, so he was sentenced to death.
He died on the 23rd of April, 303 A.D., and that date has since been chosen to celebrate St. George’s Day in different parts of the world.
St. George is an important figure in many countries, regions, cities, and organizations, most of which have strong Christian backgrounds and origins. Many countries, regions, and states claim him as patron, some of which are; England, Georgia, Ethiopia, Moscow, and only 2 autonomous communities in Spain: Aragon and Catalonia.
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And just to be very sure, you do know that Barcelona is in Catalonia, right? Okay, now not only is it in Catalonia, it is also the capital and the largest city in the community.
Now, FC Barcelona is owned by the people. It is one of the very few clubs in world football that is owned by the members of the club. And in 2016, it was estimated that there were up to 140,000 members in the Catalan community.
Therefore, the club is pretty much owned by the people of Catalonia. So, anything significant to the people of Catalonia, you expect to be significant to the club. And just as we have established, St. George, and by extension, his cross, is very significant to the people of Catalonia.
But even more than just being a Christian martyr, there’s another big reason the Catalans venerate St. George. According to a legend, a long, long time ago, a dragon was constantly tormenting a Catalan village. It would frighten the people and eat the animals; always coming back for more every other day.
Why Do Barcelona Have The England Flag?
So, to appease the dragon and satiate his hunger, the villagers decide to sacrifice one person to the dragon every day. And the people were to be chosen by a random lottery system.
One of those days, it was the daughter of the king who was chosen to be sacrificed. She had already been offered to the beast when St. George – whom the Catalan people refer to as St. Jordi – stepped up to the dragon right before he devoured the princess and killed it. He rescued the king’s daughter and the entire village, and from that moment, he became one of the most important figures in their history.
Apparently, when St. George killed the dragon, the blood that flowed went on to form a red rose bush, and that also became significant to the Catalan people. From that moment, it became a tradition in Catalonia to offer a rose to someone you love or deeply care about.
St. George’s cross has featured in the FC Barcelona crest since the beginning of the 20th century, and has remained even though the crest has been modified 9 times since then.
That’s how significant it is to the people of Barcelona. And oh, the cross even features in the city of Barcelona’s flag. How much more significant can it get, really?