St David’s Day 2021: Who is St David and how is it celebrated?

ST DAVID’S Day falls on March 1 this year – and is the day where Welsh people celebrate their patron saint.

But who is St David, and how is the special day celebrated?

Daffodils are a symbol of St David

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Daffodils are a symbol of St DavidCredit: Alamy

Who was Saint David?

St David – or Dewi Sant in Welsh – is thought to have been born on the south-west coast of Wales near where St Davids is today.

He is generally considered to have been born some time between 462 and 515AD.

His best-known miracle is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Brefi.

The village of Llanddewi Brefi stands on the spot where the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill.

A white dove, which became his emblem, was seen settling on his shoulder.

The Welsh flag

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The Welsh flagCredit: Alamy

How is St David’s celebrated?

There are also numerous country festivals and dances – all with a dragon-theme – which take place across Wales on St David’s Day.

Images of red dragons are used to celebrate because the dragon features on the Welsh national flag and is often considered a symbol of the country.

Children in Wales take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau, with recitation and singing being the main activities.

The flag of Saint David often plays a central role in the celebrations and can be seen flying throughout Wales. 

Although many associate St David with leeks or daffodils, his symbol is actually the Dove, which usually rests on his shoulder.

Unlike St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, St David’s Day is not a national holiday, though there is strong support for it becoming a bank holiday in Wales.

Welsh people usually eat leek soup on St David's Day

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Welsh people usually eat leek soup on St David’s DayCredit: Getty – Contributor

What symbols are associated with St David’s Day?

There are a few symbols that are associated with St David’s Day.

On St David’s Day, many people in Wales pin a daffodil or leek to their clothes.

The traditional meal on St David’s Day is a soup made of lamb, leeks and other vegetables known as cawl.

The tradition of eating and wearing leeks on St David’s Day supposedly goes back to the 6th century.

It is said that St David ordered his soldiers to wear leeks in their helmets into battle – and that the leeks won them victory.

Daffodils, which are in bloom around this time of year, became the national symbol for Wales in the 19th Century through a mixture of trends and linguistic confusion.

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