St David’s Day

By | Category: Travel news

Compared to St Patrick’s Day, St David’s Day isn’t celebrated with as much gusto. No rivers or waterfalls are turned yellow, the colour of daffodils the national flower of Wales. No huge parade takes place in New York and the day is consequently seen as a little muted. It isn’t even a bank holiday as it is for St Patrick’s Day in Ireland and St Andrew’s Day in Scotland.

But that doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t celebrations.

Tradition says that it was on March 1st that St David died 1,430 years ago, this very year.

This year, St David’s Day coincides with half-term in Wales so there are plenty of domestic visitors around to enjoy the events that are happening. For those living in other parts of the UK, half-term holidays are over so only those without children might be able to join in on events on the actual day. But like most celebrations, some events fall over into the nearest weekend and the same applies to St David’s Day.

In Cardiff, where usually the largest celebration is held, the parade proper begins at 12.30 today. In Cardigan – the site of the first eisteddfod in 1176 – it starts at 1pm, the same as it does in Aberystwyth. In the tiny city of St David’s at the cathedral there will be a service at St David’s shrine. Most cities, towns, and villages will have have an event including my own village where there is a cawl morning. (cawl is a Welsh soup made traditionally of lamb and root vegetables.)

CADW which is responsible for protecting the ancient monuments of Wales has free opening to the sixteen sites that it normally charges for in winter but there is an added bonus at St David’s. A “portrait” of St David has been created in the old Bishop’s Palace using 1,000 daffodils by Nathan Wyburn, the man who memorably created an image of the Queen in toast and Marmite.

Outside Wales there are also celebrations including a week of events in London which lasts a fortnight. Over in the USA, the Washington DC Welsh Society has a dinner on saturday night which doesn’t seem particularly Welsh in that there is no lamb, no Welsh rarebit and no Pembrokeshire Earlies with the chicken or salmon just potatoes from the Yukon! How churlish of me to even mention it.

Like London, New York celebrates a Wales Week. And like London it lasts a fortnight. It started on February 23rd and ends on March 9th. One of the important functions is held on St David’s Day when the Royal Welsh College honours Catherine Zeta-Jones with a Fellowship whilst, at the same time, raising scholarship funds to enable more Welsh and US students to study at its word-class facility in Cardiff.

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