The 1st of March is a national day of celebration in Wales which has been observed since the 18th century. The day honours St. David the patron Saint of Wales, a Celtic monk who lived in the 6th century and died on this day.
Saint David’s father was said to have been a prince and his mother a nun; a niece of King Arthur who went on to become a saint too. His birth by the sea was apparently so intense that her fingers left marks where she grasped the rocks and as St. David was born a bolt of lightning from heaven struck the rock and it split in two.
St. David’s Day is not only celebrated in Wales but all over the world. It has been recognised officially as the national day for people of Welsh origin in the United States since 2003 and the Empire State Building is illuminated in the Welsh national colours to celebrate the day. Google have also created a ‘Google Doodle’ to mark it today.
As well as parades and a wealth of cultural events all over Wales to celebrate, it is also tradition that the Welsh wear daffodils or leeks on their clothing as these are national emblems of Wales.
The daffodil is the national flower, which flowers in March and leeks became associated after a troop of Welsh soldiers who wished to distinguish themselves from English troops wore them on their uniforms. This created the annual tradition of The Prince of Wales presenting leeks on St. David’s Day at the Cavalry Barracks in London.
Cawl, a stew or broth is a Welsh dish often consumed today, as well as Welsh cakes. US Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will be celebrating St David’s Day by eating specially delivered Welsh cakes today.
Welsh is spoken fluently by approximately 300,000 people and has much support for the prospect of reviving and improving the status of the language. As it’s St. David’s Day, why not learn a few Welsh phrases to impress your Welsh friends today!
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