The National Day of Wales is St. David’s Day and is observed on 1 March, the traditional date of his death in 589 AD.
Saint David (known as Dewi Sant in the Welsh language) was a Celtic monk born towards the end of the fifth century and was Archbishop of Wales. He spread the word of Christianity across Wales, founding 11 churches across Wales and Brittany. His influence is shown by the number of churches dedicated to him in Wales.
The feast of St David dates back to 1120 AD, when David was canonised by Pope Callactus II. St David was recognised by some as the national patron saint during the period of Welsh resistance to the Normans.
On St. David’s day, Welsh people may wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel – the daffodil or the leek. The tradition of wearing a leek is said to have arisen when a unit of Welsh soldiers were able to distinguish each other from troops of similarly attired English enemy soldiers by wearing leeks.
The daffodil flowers early in the year and makes it a fitting emblem for St. David as it is full bloom by 1 March.
For centuries, this day has been a national festival. A petition in 2007 to make St. David’s Day a bank holiday was rejected by the-then British Prime Minster, Tony Blair, though from this year Gwynedd Council has made it a public holiday within its own borders.
St. David’s Day remains one of Wales’ proudest traditions, with festivals and parades being held in an increasing number of towns and cities throughout the country.