Thursday, 1 March 2012

St David's Day Parade

Today is the 1st of March and a day celebrated across Wales as St David's Day or Dydd Gwyl Dewi Sant as it's known in Wales. 


St David is known as the patron saint of Wales (celebrated every year on the 1st March), just like St Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland (celebrated on the 30th November), St George is the patron saint of England (celebrated on the 23rd April) and of course everyone has heard of St Patrick the patron saint of Ireland (celebrated on the 17th March). These 4 home counties make up the UK or Great Britain. 



To celebrate St David's Day, the children at my children's primary school were been encouraged to wear traditional dress (the girls wear a petticoat and overcoat made of Welsh flannel, and a tall beaver hat, worn over a frilled white bonnet. The boys wear a white shirt with a jabbot and wrist frills, a Welsh flannel waistcoat and black breeches). Or something red (lots of Welsh rugby shirts no doubt!). This afternoon they paraded through town, the baby and I joined them for the last little bit as they passed our house




Even Google 




and Disneyland Paris are celebrating St David's Day






But who is St David and why do the Welsh celebrate him? 




St David or Dewi was born in the year 500 and is believed to have died on the 1st March 589. He was believed to have been of royal blood and a distant relative of King Arthur (his mother's uncle). He was born in Ceridigian near the current city of St David. What is known about Dewi, comes from a biography written by Rhigyfarch almost 500 years after his death so it is not known how much is legend and how much is fact. 


Dewi was a Celtic monk, Abbot and Bishop and he is credited with being one of the many early saints who helped to spread Christianity throughout the  pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain. During his life, Dewi travelled far and wide throughout Wales, where he established many churches and he also traveled to South and West of England and possibly Ireland as well accompanied by his friends Saints Padarn and Teilo and it is also believed he even traveled to Jerusalem to meet the Patriarch. 


But what was so special about this gentle man? What made him more special than his friends who traveled with him?


There are many stories about Dewi and the miracles he performed. It is claimed he once rose a youth from death and when they were deciding whether to make Dewi an Archbishop he stood to speak to the crowd that had gathered someone shouted that they couldn't see or hear him. At that moment the ground rose up until everyone could see and hear him and unsurprisingly they made him Archbishop shortly afterwards. 

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