Saint David’s Day falls on March 1 each year. This national day is a celebration of Saint David’s life and Welsh culture.
Traditional activities on Saint Davids’ day include attending special parades, church services, choral recitals and Welsh literature readings.
The Welsh traditional costume is worn by some children and adults, whilst others wear on their clothes the Welsh emblems of either a daffodil or leek.
The Welsh flag is displayed at events and at homes. The design of which features a red dragon on a white and green background.
On Saint Davids day families eat a traditional meal called cawl, whose main ingredient is leek.
Who is Saint David
Saint David is believed to have been born around 489 and lived to be 100 years old. He died on 1 March 589 and lays buried in St David’s cathedral.
St David (or Dewi Sant) was born towards the end of the fifth century and was reported to have royal lineage. His father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, who was prince of Ceredigion, a region in South-West Wales. His mother, Non, the daughter of a local chieftain was also believed to be a niece of King Arthur.
He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Sir Benfro, where St Davids Cathedral stands today. He was famed throughout the Celtic world as a teacher and ascetic.
His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became one of the most important shrines of the Christian world, and the most important centre in Wales.
In his lifetime Saint David was known as a teacher and preacher and for establishing monasteries and churches in Wales during a time when paganism was still popular. He led a simple life and encouraged those around him to follow suit. This included refraining from eating animals and drinking beer.
He was thought to be well traveled and even made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
He is often pictured with a white dove on his shoulder. This originated from a dove alighting on his shoulder whilst preaching which was believed to be a sign of a blessing from god.
Saint David was canonized in 1120 and the date of his death was included in the church calendar as St Davids’ Day.
St David’s Day Traditions
Across the world many Welsh people unite in celebrating St David’s Day and observe one or more traditions associated with it.
Parades are held across Wales to commemorate St David. The largest of which takes place in Cardiff on 1 March.
Special St David’s Day concerts and recitations are held in schools and churches.
The Welsh national emblems are worn on lapels. Traditionally men will wear leeks (the symbol associated with St David) whilst women wear daffodils.
Younger girls may dress in the national Welsh costume, a long woollen skirt, white blouse, woolen shawl and Welsh hat.
The Flag of Saint David is flown on Saint David’s Day.