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St David’s Day – A celebration of Welsh Culture

1 March 2021 | By Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

Image | Daffodils, an emblem of Wales - Cribarth © Hawlfraint y Goron © Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales

In Wales March 1st is St David’s Day or Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant in Welsh. St David is the patron saint of Wales and the day is a National festival, celebrated every year for centuries.

St Davids Cathedral, Wales © Hawlfraint y Goron © Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales

Who is St David?

St David is said to have been born on a clifftop in Pembrokeshire, South West Wales, around 500 AD. Known for his preaching, his founding of many monasteries and churches in Wales, Brittany and southwest England and his many miracles. The best-known miracle being the rising of a hill on which he was preaching, allowing the crowd to hear and see him more clearly. St David died on 1 March in 589 and was buried at the site of St Davids Cathedral, Wales.

How is St David’s Day celebrated in Wales?

In Wales St David’s Day is a time to celebrate Welsh heritage and culture. Traditions can include women and girls wearing traditional welsh costume, made up of a long skirt, apron, white blouse, woollen shawl and a Welsh hat. Although a more modern-day tradition is to wear a Welsh rugby shirt, a sport which has a huge following in Wales. People also wear daffodils and leeks which are emblems of Wales.
Welsh schools hold concerts, known as eisteddfodau, which include poetry readings and singing in Welsh. In a normal year cities and towns across Wales have held parades. Wales’ capital city, Cardiff, holds the largest annual parade in the city centre.  Around Wales the Welsh flag with its striking red dragon is flown and people eat traditional Welsh foods.

Welsh cakes © Hawlfraint y Goron © Crown copyright (2021) Cymru Wales

Celebrate with a taste of Wales

Throughout Wales people are passionate about Welsh foods and traditional Welsh foods are often enjoyed on St David’s Day. Dishes include cawl, like a broth or soup, which commonly has lamb, leeks, potatoes, swede and carrots in and Welsh rarebit, a cheese sauce mix on toast. Other foods such as laverbread, a welsh delicacy made from an edible seaweed, and Welsh lamb raised on the lush green grass of Wales. Welsh sweet treats including Welsh cakes cooked on a bakestone and bara brith, similar to a fruit cake and flavoured with tea.

The Welsh Language
The native language of Wales is Welsh. Around 30% of the population speak Welsh, with a high number of those being bilingual (with English as their other language) and situated in west and north Wales. All children in Wales learn Welsh and more and more people are learning this native language to safeguard its future.
Here are a few popular Welsh phases to try and learn;

Bore da (Boh-reh dah) – Good morning 

Prynhawn da (Prin-houn dah) – Good afternoon 

Croeso I Gymru (Croy-so ee Gum-ree) – Welcome to Wales 

Diolch (Dee-olch) – Thank you 

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (dee-the goil De-wi ha-peece) – Happy St David’s Day

Sheep graze in the Brecon Beacons National Park countryside, Wales.
© Drew Buckley Photography

Blog by Atlantic CultureScape Project Partner – Brecon Beacons National Park Authority

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