Monday, March 03, 2008

Patron Saint of Wales, Saint David's Day: Eisteddfodau

From Wikipedia:

Saint David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year. The date of March 1st was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

Children take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau, with recitation and singing being the main activities. Formerly, a half-day holiday was afforded to school children. Officially this custom does not continue, although the practice can vary on a school-to-school basis.

Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel to celebrate St. David: the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek (Saint David's personal symbol) on this day. The association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have similar names in Welsh, Cenin (leek) and Cenin Bedr (daffodil, literally "Peter's leek").

Males usually wear leeks while young girls wear daffodils. The younger girls usually wear their Welsh costumes to school. This costume consists of a long woollen skirt, white blouse, woollen shawl and a Welsh hat.

From time immemorial the Welsh have worn a leek on St. David's day, in memory of a battle against the Saxons, at which it is said they wore leeks in their hats, by St. David's advice, to distinguish them from their enemies(Catholic Encyclopedia).

On March 1, 2008, upon the return of Prince Harry to England from Afghanistan, Prince Charles was interviewed and could be seen wearing a leek on the lapel of his suit coat.

The Welsh flag is always flown in honour of St. David on days in which he is honoured or commemorated. The flag with the cross is the flag of St. David. The Welch flag is the Red Dragon.

Thanks Dorothy! I'll add some stories to my Daffodil post.

St David: patron saint of Wales, Pembrokeshire, vegetarians, and poets. More about Saint David and the tradition of the leek at Catholic Encyclopedia.

Free printables for children in public domain referencing St. David :

3/1/08 - St. David's Day from The Every-day Book, published in 1839 London.

National Emblems
from Our Young Folks, published in 1872, Boston.

Mentions the discovery of St. David's relics which had been covered up with a wall after the Reformation: The Lives of Saints, published in 1868.

Illustrated story of St. David's Day from Peter Parley's Annual published in 1866.

British Goblins: Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditons, published in 1880. Not about St. David, but interesting legend about the Red Dragon and "whence it came".

Saint David, Archbishop, Patron Saint of Wales, from The Lives of the Fathers, Martyrs, and Other Principal Saints by Rev. Alban Butler, 1866.(older children)

Easier to read: Stories of the Saints with illustrations by Mrs. C. Van D. Chenoweth, 1907


Anonymous said...

Thanks for info.

In Wales the flag of choice is the Red Dragon!!

Alexandra said...

Thanks! I've added the Red Dragon. :)

Romany said...

Yay! Alexandra. You are a born researcher!

I used to love the singing competitions at the Eisteddfods on St David's Day.

He had an intersting life too. Worth the read.


Romany said...

Oh I've just realised that we're going to Pembrokeshire in Sept on holiday. I'll try and take a picture of St David's Cathedral while I'm there. {g}

Alexandra said...

That would be great Dorothy. I'd love to see pictures.