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.
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!