Leek, dragons and daffodils

On the 1st of March the  Welsh  celebrate St. David’s Day!

The leek and also the daffodil are national symbols of Wales and the Welsh wear them in their  lapels  on the 1st of March to mark this day. Can you believe that the Welsh people wore leeks on their hats when they went into  battle  so that they could  recognise  their friends from their  enemies ?

St. David’s Day represents an important celebration of Welsh culture.  Parades  and parties are held in the streets, people sing traditional songs and  recite  Welsh  poetry  and the Welsh flag, a red dragon on a white and green background, is flown in towns and villages. The traditional meal on St. David’s Day is “cawl”, a thick tasty  stew  of leeks, potatoes,  swedes , carrots and lamb.

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St. David is the  patron saint  of Wales. It is believed that he lived to be 100 years old and died on the 1st of March, 589.  Apparently  he was very gentle and physically strong and tall despite eating a  frugal  diet ( consisting mostly of leeks!)

St. David  founded  several churches and a monastery in Wales. He eventually became an archbishop and his monastery became a cathedral. Destroyed by the Vikings and rebuilt by the Normans after 1087, the cathedral still stands today at its original site in Pembrokeshire, South Wales.

 

The town which grew up around the monastery and cathedral is called St. David’s. For a  settlement  to be defined as a “city” it needs to have a cathedral, so St. David’s with its population of only 2000 people is the smallest city in the United Kingdom!

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