March 1st is St David’s Day, the national day of Wales, where festivities have been held since the 12th century to celebrate his life. The celebrations typically involve the singing of traditional songs, which are followed by a Te Bach – a tea with traditional bara brith (Welsh fruit bread) and teisen bach (Welsh cake). Leeks are traditionally worn to celebrate the victory against the Saxons, which took place in a field of the vegetables. Daffodils are also often worn, as both are national symbols of Wales.In preparation for the celebrations, we have taken a look at seven things about the patron saint of Wales, how many of these did you know?
- David was allegedly born on a cliff top near Capel Non (Non’s Chapel) during a fierce storm. Both his parents were descended from Welsh royalty, with his father being Sandde, Prince of Powys, and his mother Non, daughter of a chieftain of Menevia (which is now known as the city of St David’s).
- In medieval times, it was believed that St David was the nephew of King Arthur. Legend has it that St Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, foresaw the birth of David in approximately 520AD. St Patrick himself is also said to have been born near the city of St David’s!
- St David was a vegetarian who only ate bread, herbs and vegetables and only drank water. For this reason, he became known as Aquaticus or Dewi Ddyfrwr (the water drinker) in Welsh.
- At the time of his death, St David was alleged to be over 100 years old!
- David was the only Welsh saint to be canonized by the Western Catholic Church. Canonization declares that a person who has died was a saint, upon which the person is included in the list of recognised saints.
- Even those this occurred, the abbey at Glastonbury still tries to claim St David as its patron.
- St David was thought of so highly by Pope Callistus II, he stated two pilgrimages to his shrine in the city of St David’s was worth one to the Vatican in Rome, while three were worth one to Jerusalem.
Make sure those of you who are visiting one of our caravan parks on a Wales holiday this St David’s Day keep an eye out for the celebrations!