Who was St David and why does Wales celebrate him in March every year?

Who was St David and why does Wales celebrate him in March every year?

EACH year on March 1, Welsh people throughout the world stop to celebrate St David’s Day – but, who was St David and why do we celebrate him?

Who was St David?

Saint David was a Welsh bishop of Mynyw (now St Davids) during the sixth century – though the year of his birth is uncertain.

He founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosyn on the western headland of Pembrokeshire at the spot where St Davids Cathedral stands today.

He died in 589AD.

The flag of Saint David – a yellow cross on a black background – can also be seen flying throughout Wales.

Why was St David made a saint?

He was canonised in the 12th century, by Pope Callixtus II.

St David’s best-known miracle is purported to have taken place at the Synod of Brefi.

He was preaching to a large crowd when the ground is said to have risen up into a small hill.

The village of Llanddewi Brefi stands on the spot where he spoke.

A white dove, which became his emblem, was also seen settling on his shoulder.

How do we celebrate St David?

Traditional festivities include:

  • wearing daffodils and leeks, recognised symbols of Wales and Saint David himself
  • Eating traditional Welsh food including cawl and Welsh rarebit
  • schoolchildren wearing traditional Welsh dress or dressing up as miners or rugby players

An increasing number of cities and towns across Wales, including Cardiff, Swansea and Aberystwyth, also put on parades throughout the day.

The leek is thought to relate to Welsh soldiers wearing leeks to distinguish each other from a troop of similarly dressed English soldiers.

Should St David’s Day be a public holiday?

Unlike Saint Patrick’s Day in Ireland, Saint David’s Day is not a national holiday, though there is strong support for it becoming a bank holiday in Wales.