Saint David’s Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March each year. The date of 1 March was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.
Cross-party support resulted in the National Assembly for Wales voting unanimously to make St. David’s Day a public holiday in 2000, a stance supported by the Wales TUC. A poll conducted for Saint David’s Day in 2006 found that 87% of people in Wales wanted it to be a bank holiday, with 65% prepared to sacrifice a different bank holiday to ensure this. A petition in 2007 to make St. David’s Day a bank holiday was rejected by office of the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair.
Importance of the day:
Dewi Sant – St. David was born towards the end of the fifth century. He was a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion, and founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Sir Benfro, at the spot where St David’s Cathedral stands today. David’s fame as a teacher and ascetic spread throughout the Celtic world. His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became an important Christian shrine, and the most important centre in Wales. The date of Dewi Sant’s death is recorded as 1 March, but the year is uncertain – possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death St David uttered these words: ‘Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil’.
For centuries the first of March has been a national festival. St David was recognised as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans. St David’s day was celebrated by the diaspora from an early period: the 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys noted how Welsh celebrations in London for St David’s day would spark wider countercelebrations amongst their English neighbours: life-sized effigies of Welshmen were symbolically lynched, and by the 18th century the custom had arisen of confectioners producing ‘Taffies’ – gingerbread figures baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat – on St David’s Day
In 2003 in the United States, St. David’s Day was recognised officially as the national day of the Welsh, and on 1 March the Empire State Building was floodlit in the national colours, red, green and white. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, recitals and concerts.
To celebrate this day, people wear a symbol of either a leek, or daffodil. The leek arises from an occasion when a troop of Welsh were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks. An alternative emblem developed in recent years is the daffodil.
In the poem Armes Prydain, composed in the early to mid-tenth century AD, the anonymous author prophesises that the Cymry (the Welsh people) will unite and join an alliance of fellow-Celts to repel the Anglo-Saxons, under the banner of St David: A lluman glân Dewi a ddyrchafant (And they will raise the pure banner of Dewi).
About the Cathedral above:
St Davids Cathedral (Welsh: Eglwys Gadeiriol Tyddewi) is situated in St Davids in the county of Pembrokeshire (Wales)
Information from wiki pages.