01 March 2007

St David's Day

The 1st March is St David's Day, Saint David (Dewi Sant in Welsh) is the patron saint of Wales and his day is celebrated in Wales and by Welsh people throughout the world.

St David of Wales or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys, and Non, daughter of a Chieftain of Menevia whose lands included the peninsula on which the little cathedral town of St David's now stands. St David is thought to have been born near the present town of St David's.

David was educated at what is usually taken to be Whitland in Carmarthenshire under Saint Paulinus of Wales. He became renowned as a teacher and a preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches throughout Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. He rose to a bishopric, and presided over two synods, as well as going on pilgrimages to Jerusalem (where he was anointed as a bishop by the Patriach) and Rome. St David's Cathedral now stands on the site of the monastery he founded in the remote and inhospitable valley of 'Glyn Rhosyn' in Pembrokeshire. David was buried at St David's Cathedral and unlike many contemporary 'saints' of Wales, David was officially recognised by Pope Callixtus II in 1123.

Many miracles have been associated with Saint David and medieval pilgrims equated two pilgrimages to St David's as worth one pilgrimage to Rome due to his holiness and over fifty churches in South Wales alone bear his name!

To celebrate St David's Day many children take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau, with recitation and singing being the main activities. Historically children would wear traditional Welsh costumes to school however dressing up for St David's day now includes dressing in rugby outfits or even as dragons! Many Welsh people will wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol) or the leek (Saint David's personal symbol) on this day. The association between leeks and daffodils is strengthened by the fact that they have similar names in Welsh, Cenhinen (leek) and Cenhinen Bedr (daffodil, literally "Peter's leek").

Two fun craft activities to celebrate St David's day are making leeks and daffodils.

  • To make a leek get a rectangle white paper, and turn it so that the long side is at the bottom, colour the top half of the page green, turn it over and do the same on the other side, roll the paper tightly and secure on the white part with tape, using scissors make cuts down the green part about a centimetre apart and ruffle them to look like the leek's leaves.
  • To make a daffodil, paint one egg segment from an egg box yellow, cut some petals from yellow card and stick them on the bottom of the segment in a flower shape, then add a green pipecleaner for a stem and some green tissue leaves.

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus

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