Happy Saint David’s Day! Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!
The pride, joy and celebration of Saint David’s day will be upon us tomorrow. Where we will dress up our children, with girls dressed in petticoats and red shawls, dancing and singing with their Welsh hats. As will the boys, looking somewhat resemblant of chimney sweeps. Whilst we all will be very proudly donning our leeks and bright yellow daffodils.
Before we get into this post, I want to talk about the most important thing - the food.
On Saint David’s day, you can’t go wrong with a lovely bowl of proper Welsh Cawl or a bucket full of Mamgu’s Welsh cakes, if you would like to give some classic Welsh recipes this year then check out our e-book.
To all our vegan friends out there! I'm sure your aware that St Davids day is just around the corner and we have just the treat for you! We have 3 amazing Welsh vegan recipes for you to eat on St David's day. I will confess I'm not vegan but boy does these welsh recipes really taste amazing! If your not a vegan you won't be let down!
These recipes were created by Sarah Philpott who is a food bilingual proofreader and copywriter who also has a food blog where you can read all about her plant-based adventures in Swansea, Cardiff and beyond.
So who was Saint David?
St.David's day is on March 1st, on which the Patron Saint of Wales died in 601 (His death was recorded as the 1st of March but the year is uncertain, however, it is now strongly thought to be 601)
The history of our patron saint is an uncertain one, but here are a few that are undisputed ‘facts’
- He came from a noble family. It is Believed that he was the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion and if that wasn’t good enough his mother was also a saint. Saint Non.
- Legend has it that he went on a pilgrimage, which led all the way to Jerusalem, where he was made an Archbishop
- He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn(The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Pembrokeshire at the spot where St David's Cathedral stands today. His shrine became a great place of pilgrimage; four visits to the shrine at St David's were considered the equivalent of two to Rome, and one to Jerusalem!
- He was not recognised as a national patron saint until the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans over 400 years after his death!
The most famous story about Saint David tells how he was able to move the ground beneath him, miraculously raising a hillto preach - a lot of effort so the people in the back can hear if you ask me...
How do we celebrate our Patron Saint?
For centuries now, March 1st has been a national festival and has only grown in popularity over the years, with celebrations taking place not only throughout Wales but in London, America and even Disneyland Paris (Yes it’s true!)
Many mark St David’s Day by wearing a leek or a daffodil, the national emblems of Wales, or by displaying the flag of St David, which features a yellow cross on a black background.
It is said that during a battle against the Saxons, David advised his soldiers to wear leeks in their hats so that they could easily be distinguished from their enemies, which is why the leek is one of the emblems of Wales!
Schools across Wales will hold festival celebrations - known as eisteddfodau, with children dressed up in traditional costume. Saint David's Day begins in many Welsh primary schools with a religious service.
Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet. Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes.
Children enjoy traditional Welsh dances, sing Welsh folk songs and recite Welsh poems.
Some secondary schools in Wales celebrate the Saint's day with an Eisteddfod, a festival of singing, dancing, and reciting. The climax of the Eisteddfod is often a choir competition.
What’s going on and around St.Davids Day 2018?
A three-day celebration of music, food and entertainment, including a city centre parade, dubbed “Swansea’s biggest-ever St David’s Day celebration” is planned for St David’s Day weekend.
Along with the Pared Dewi parade, there'll be a two-day food and drink festival, street entertainers, and plenty of Welsh cakes, at the Croeso Abertawe event.
Thursday, March 1
Saints, Songs and Celebrations is a show at Brangwyn Hall featuring 300 young people from city schools coming together to enjoy St David’s Day in music and dance.
Friday, March 2
On day two the action shifts to the city centre where the two-day Croeso Food and Drink Festival kicks off in Oxford Street, Princess Way and Castle Square where the sights, sounds and smells of Welsh cooking and food can be enjoyed.
Saturday, March 3
On the final day, the festival will culminate with a celebration of all things Welsh with a Pared Dewi – St David’s Parade - taking centre stage around the city centre from 2.30pm with a show of music, movement and dance.
In Cardiff a parade begins at 12:30 pm at Cardiff City Hall and makes its way through the centre, painting the town red.. And yellow, with fiery performances from giant dragons. Finishing up at 1:30 pm with a rousing mass the national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, outside St David's Hall. There you can enjoy a special gala concert from the BBC National Orchestra of Wales in the evening.
You will see similar flamboyant parades in Aberystwyth, Wrexham and Llandudno.
Tastings and demonstrations will be held at the Rhug Estate in Corwen and Hawarden Farm Shop in Flintshire.
Throughout Wales, many castles and heritage sites open their doors for free in honour of our national day. One of these being the ruin of the lavish St Davids Bishop's Palace, built on the tip of the western coast by Bishop Henry de Gower. Which stands next to the imposing cathedral, home of St. David’s final resting place. The surrounding streets of Britain's smallest city provide an ideal setting to honour our Patron Saint. Led by clergy, the annual Pilgrims’ Walk leads to the illumination of the St David’s Day Stone, ending at the spectacularly beautiful Oriel y Parc, where you can wander around a traditional Welsh market and dance to live bands.
On March 4th Cardiff riverside market will host around 35 producers offering samples, street food and traditional stalls. If you are feeling somewhat more energetic then you could enter the St David's day run, where you can choose from a 1km, 5km or 10km route which start and finish in the lovely Bute park. For more info on this visit - http://www.stdavidsdayrun.com/
If you are not lucky enough to be in this beautiful country on St David's day, do not panic! You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find going on outside of Wales...
- St David's day concert at the London Welsh centre or tasting units and performances by London-based Welsh male voice choir, Eschoir.
- Disneyland Paris also organises yearly events to celebrate Saint David's Day which includes a Welsh-themed week, fireworks, parades and Disney characters dressed in traditional Welsh attire,
- The Los Angeles St. David's Day Festival - National Day of Wales is the largest annual event of its kind in the United States encompassing an eisteddfod, Celtic marketplace, classes, and a concert.
If unfortunately, you can’t find anything why not have your own Celebrations? You have read everything you need to know, and with our St David’s day feast recipes, you have no excuses!