St David's Day (1st March)

1st March is St David’s Day. Find out about St David and local events to celebrate the day.

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St David’s Day Events…

@ USW

in the local area

The life of St David

St David of Wales or ‘Dewi Sant’ (in Welsh), was a saint of the Celtic Church. Following Dewi’s education, he went on a pilgrimage through parts of South Wales and the West of England, where he founded important religious centres such as Glastonbury and Croyland. He settled in ‘Glyn Rhosyn’ (St David’s) after defeating an Irish chieftain named Boia. Later, Dewi went on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he was consecrated archbishop.

Many miracles were attributed to Dewi Sant. One miracle often recounted is that, once, when Dewi was preaching to a crowd at Llanddewi Brefi, those on the outer edges could not hear, so he spread a handkerchief on the ground, and stood on it to preach, and the ground rose up beneath him, and all could hear.

He was buried in what today is St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire.

St David’s Day celebrations

1st March is the date given by Rhigyfarch for the death of Dewi Sant. It was celebrated as a religious festival up until the Protestant Reformation of the 16th century. In the 18th century it became a national festival among the Welsh, and continues as such to this day.

The celebration usually means singing and eating. The custom is to celebrate with traditional songs and poems in a Welsh evening called ‘Noson Lawen’. Y Ddraig Goch, the Red Dragon, is flown as a flag or worn as a pin or pendant, and either leeks or daffodils are worn, both of which are national emblems of Wales.

The leek became famous in Wales after an ancient poet (Taliesin) wrote enthusiastically about its virtues, and because a (probably fictional) legend exists that a Welsh army once attached leek to their helmets to help identify each other in a battle against Saxons. The status of the leek as an emblem is so strong that it even features on coins that represent Wales. Daffodils became national emblems in the early 20th century, when Welsh born Prime Minister David Lloyd George wore daffodils on St David’s Day.

Children in schools, mainly girls, will dress up in traditional Welsh national costume. A more modern tradition has become the wearing of Welsh rugby shirts.

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