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Shakespeare, St George and the ZX Spectrum

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Today is St George’s Day, Shakespeare’s birthday and the anniversary of the ZX Spectrum!

The 23rd of April is celebrated as St Georges Day in England. It is thought to be William Shakespeare’s birthday as well, on the same day as he died 52 years later, and the day also marks the 30th anniversary of the release of the ZX Spectrum, the British-produced computer.

St George’s Day

St George is the patron Saint of England and he is remembered and honoured on the 23rd of April. Many also use the day to celebrate England in general.

It was unlikely St George ever even visited England and he actually has no real connection to the country unlike the patron saints of Wales and Ireland!

St George was born in what is now present-day Turkey and legend tells the tale of how he saved the life of a Princess by slaying a Dragon. The story has immortalized him and the locals were so grateful that they all converted to Christianity.

He is also celebrated as a Christian martyr after being executed by an Emperor for declaring his religion. The Emperor’s wife was said to have been so inspired by St George’s bravery and loyalty to his religion, that she too became a Christian and was then executed for her faith.

There are a few traditional customs associated with St George’s Day such as wearing a red rose on your lapel, and many fly or adorn the St George’s Cross flag. The hymn ‘Jerusalem’ is often sung in churches today or on the nearest Sunday and some may simply celebrate the day by enjoying a traditional English delicacy such as afternoon tea.

William Shakespeare’s birthday

Shakespeare was born in 1564 but his birthday is officially unknown.

As he was baptised on the 26th of April and baptisms at the time traditionally took place within a few days of birth, many celebrate his birth on the 23rd of April and the date has become his unofficial birthday. The date also marks the day he died in 1616.

Shakespeare’s plays have been translated into every major living language and to celebrate the London 2012 Olympic Games each of his 38 plays is to be performed in a different language at Shakespeare’s globe theatre. King Lear will be presented in Australian Aboriginal languages as well as Troilus and Cressida being performed in Maori!

ZX Spectrum

As commemorated in Google’s ‘doodle’ today, it has been 30 years since the launch of the ZX Spectrum.

The ZX Spectrum was a small computer that had rubber keys and played a seminal role in igniting the age of the home computer. The computer came in two sizes and cost £125 for a 16KB machine and £175 for a 48KB machine. Although now discontinued the Spectrum has become iconic and gathered a bit of a cult following!

For all of you nostalgic Spectrum users here are some of the best games of the 1980s.

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