It’s 1st March and celebrations are in full swing for St David’s day, the feast day to celebrate the patron saint of Wales!
Here’s everything you need to know about who St David was, why he is celebrated across the country and how to take part in the celebrations.
Who is St David?
Not much is known about St David but much of the traditional tales about him are based on Buchedd Dewi (Life of David), which was written by the scholar Rhigyfarch at the end of the 11th Century.
St David is thought to be born around 500 AD in Pembrokeshire on the West Wales coast. His mother, Non, was also a saint and he was trained as a priest under guardianship of St Paulinus.
The exact date of his death is unknown but is widely accepted as 1st March and is commonly estimated in 549 AD.
St David’s Day has been celebrated in Wales on 1st March since the 12th Century when David was made a saint by Pope Callixtus II.
Why is St David’s a celebrated national figure?
Various miracles have been credited to St David, including restoring the sight of his teacher and most famously creating an entirely new hill during an outdoor sermon, which is now known as the village of Llanddewi Brefi.
It is thanks to him being the founder of renowned missionaries in Wales and beyond that now made St David the greatest figure in the Welsh Age of Saints. He founded monasteries in Wales, south west England and Brittany.
In 550 AD, St David was named the Archbishop of Wales at the Synod of Brefi church council and stayed in the settlement of Mynyw and set up a large monastery. Mynyw is now known as St David’s, the UK’s smallest city, in his honour. The monastery there has since become the magnificent St David’s Cathedral and is the final resting place of St David and was a prestigious site of pilgrimage in the middle ages and is still a site of immense interest to this day.
How to join in on St David’s Day
Although St David’s day is not a public holiday, events are held across the country, including in Swansea and Cardiff, to celebrate the occasion including parades and markets.
Customs of St David’s day is wear leeks and daffodils (the recognisable symbols of Wales), wear traditional Welsh dress and to also eat delicious traditional dishes such as rarebit, cawl and Welsh cakes.
Want to find out more about how to celebrate St David’s day 2019 in Swansea? Take a look at Wales Online’s article, 9 ways to celebrate St David’s Day in Swansea City Centre.