In celebration of Dewi Sant or St David, the patron saint of Wales, the whole country is swathed in red, white and green and either a leek or daffodil is worn with huge pride.
No more so than in the city of St Davids or ‘Glyn Rhosyn, the small hamlet where Dewi established a monastery on the site of the now St Davids Cathedral.
But who was St David?
David was born in the year 500, the son of St Non and a prince of Ceredigion. Legend states that Non gave birth to him on a cliff top during a violent storm.
David and his followers lived a simple life; they refrained from eating meat or drinking beer. David's symbol, now a national symbol of Wales, is the leek.
David rose to become a bishop in the church and made several pilgrimages including one to Jerusalem during which, tradition states, he brought back with him a stone which now sits in an altar in the south transept of the cathedral.
The best known miracle associated with David is said to have taken place when he was preaching in the middle of a large crowd at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi. When those at the back complained that they could not hear him, the ground on which he stood is reputed to have risen up to form a small hill so that everyone had a good view. A white dove settled on his shoulder, a sign of God's grace and blessing.
David died in the year 589 and the monastery is said to have been 'filled with angels as Christ received his soul'. His final words to his followers were: 'Be Joyful. Keep the Faith. Do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.'
On March 1st the celebrations start in St Davids city with schools services, a pilgrims walk from St Non's chapel and the illumination of the St Davids Stone procession followed by the Bishop's Blessing and prayers at the Shrine of St David.
Image: Cadw/Welsh Assembly Government
In the south of the county Saundersfoot celebrate St Davids Day with its annual St Davids Food and Craft Festival this year on the 12th March. The highlight of the weekend is the Cawl Cooking Championship of the World and Elsewhere, where restaurants compete to produce the best dish of Cawl judged on the taste test by the public.
Cawl? (pronounced cowell as in Simon Cowell!) It’s consider to be the national dish of Wales and is a bit like soup or broth. It dates back to the 14th Century, traditionally eaten in the winter months and made from lamb and root vegetables including, of course, leeks; it’s delicious.
If you can’t make it to Wales for St Davids Day, try making a bowl of cawl at home. Chef Louise from Newport has shared her secret recipe for a really tasty bowl of Wales’ national dish. Enjoy.
Happy St David's Day / Dydd Gwŷl Dewi (Sant) hapus