oday, the people of Wales are celebrating St. David's Day. It is celebrated on 1st March and has been for hundreds of years. But who was St. David and why do the Welsh celebrate him?
St. David was born in the year 500, he was the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, who was King of Ceredigion. According to legend, his mother St Non gave birth to him on a Pembrokeshire clifftop during a fierce storm. The spot is marked by the ruins of Non's Chapel.
He was also a vegetarian. He and his monks were known to plough the fields by hand, rather than using oxen. They refrained from eating meat or drinking beer and are believed to have only consumed leeks and water.
St. David was a Celtic monk and bishop that lived in the sixth century. He helped spread the word of Christianity across Wales. It is believed that the day of his death was 1st March. He also founded several monasteries in Wales during his lifetime.
St. David died on 1st March, 589. He was buried at the site of St Davids Cathedral, where his shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage throughout the middle ages. His last words to his followers came from a sermon he gave on the previous Sunday:
Be joyful, keep faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.
St. David's Day is commemorated in Wales by wearing Daffodils and Leeks. These are both national emblems of Wales and are closely associated with the country. They are often worn attached to a coat or hat.
On St. David's Day, some children wear the Welsh national dress to school. Girls with a tall black hat and long dress in red and white and boys with a simple Welsh rugby top.
The leek is a national emblem because St. David was said to have advised the Welsh to wear a leek in their caps when they battled the Saxons, this was so they could easily distinguish friend from foe in battle.
Many people have often wondered why the Welsh flag is not represented on the flag of the United Kingdom. The answer is because Wales, unlike England, Scotland and Ireland was never a kingdom. When the UK was formed, Wales was already part of England and was a principality instead.
Happy St. David's Day!