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Happy St David’s Day

1st March 2018

A few days ago I went to the supermarket and found this:





National Day? St David? What is happening on March 1st? I started researching information about this day and this is what I found out:

Who is St David?

March 1st is the national day of Wales: St David’s Day (or Dewi Sant in Welsh). This day has been celebrated since the 12th century. But…who was this man?

Apparently, St David was a bishop who lived during the 6th century. He had a very simple life, eating only bread with herbs and drinking just water. He travelled around Wales and Britain as a missionary* and founded 12 monasteries. He died on 1 March 589A.D. in Minevia, now called St David.

It is believed that he performed several miracles** during his life. While preaching*** to a big crowd, some of the people couldn’t hear him. Suddenly a dove (a white bird) sat on his shoulder and the ground where he was standing rose up forming a hill so that everybody could see and hear him. If you are in the church and want to identify him, you should look for something like this: a man with a dove on his shoulder standing on a hill.

St Davids Cathedral WOV.jpg

Ok, but… why is his day the National Day?

I did some research. The reason why he is the patron saint (or protector) of Wales lies in this legend: during a battle between the Welsh and the Saxon invaders, both groups were wearing very similar clothes. David saw that this was making it difficult for his countrymen to recognise their own soldiers. He advised them to pick a leek from the field and to put it on their helmets. This battle was finally won by the Welsh.

After that battle the leek became the national symbol of Wales.



Wait… A leek?

Yes! And on March 1st every Welsh soldier wears a leek on his cap. It is also a tradition that soldiers eat a raw leek on this day (yummy!). The word for leek and for daffodil are nearly the same in Welsh (daffodils are called Cenhinen Bedr, or Peter’s leek), so the daffodil ended up being the national flower.

That is all very interesting, but do I get holiday?

Unfortunately, St David’s Day is not a public holiday. But there are a lot of events happening on this day. This is a selection of things to do in Cardiff and around Wales to celebrate St David’s Day:

  • The National St David’s Day Parade starts from Cardiff City Hall at 12:30 p.m.
  • There is a Craft Market running from Saturday 24 February to Saturday 3 March 2018 (10 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.) in Working Street where you can find a selection of crafts, arts and food.
  • The National Museum is having a concert with traditional Welsh instruments and songs at 1p.m and the entry is free.
  • The BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales celebrate St David’s Day with a special concert at 7:30p.m in St David’s Hall. You can buy tickets starting at £15.
  • The Royal Welsh College Brass Band celebrates the day playing some traditional Welsh songs. It starts at 7.30 p.m. in the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. The entry fee is £15.
  • If you are called David, Dewi or Dave you can get a free pint in some pubs.
  • On St David’s Day you can visit and explore some castles across the country free of charge.
  • Check the National Trust website and go for a daffodil walk.
  • Join the St David’s Day Run in Bute Park (you can choose between 1km, 5km and 10km lengths) on Sunday 4th.

It is said that David’s final words to his followers were “Do the little things, the small things you’ve seen me doing”. So if you just want to do a little thing but still get a taste of the day’s spirit, you can watch this video showing Welsh Folk Music and Dance.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!  – Happy St David’s Day!


* Missionary: religious person who teaches people about Christianity, normally traveling to other countries.

** Miracles: something very good that happens which normally you didn’t think was possible.

* Preaching: talking about religion to many people.

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