March 1, 2009

Saint David's Day

What do Tom Jones, Shirley Bassey, Timothy Dalton and Anthony Hopkins have in common?........

They’re all Welsh. So if you were to run into one of them today you’d say Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus! Because today, March 1st, is St. David’s Day; the feast day of St. David, patron saint of Wales.

Saint David, or Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the 6th century. He was probably the most influential of the early Christians in Wales and as Archbishop he helped to spread Christianity throughout the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain. Saint David’s body was buried in the grounds of his own monastery, where the Cathedral of St. David now stands.

St. David's Day dates back to 1120, when Saint David was canonized. After his canonization, many pilgrimages were made to St. David's Cathedral and it was reported that two pilgrimages there equaled one to Rome, and three pilgrimages equaled one to Jerusalem.

Although overshadowed in popularity by St. Patrick’s Day, many Welsh towns hold parades and pubs host concerts, but there’s no green beer here. Today Welsh people might be found wearing one or both of their national emblems on their lapel to celebrate: the daffodil, a generic Welsh symbol which flowers during March, or the leek, Saint David's personal symbol.

Both my parents were evacuated to Wales during World War II. My husband and son share the 4th most common Welsh surname, although I am not allowed to divulge what it is. Wales also is home to the town Hay-On-Wye, the used book capital of the world. All good reasons to visit Wales one day, but for now I’ll just have to say Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!

Black and white photo above Geoff Charles Collection - The National Library of Wales


John-Michael said...

My Soul is always carried to a higher plane by the heavenly singing of a Welsh Chorus of Men. Absolutely one of my most favorite of Life's Gifts. And 'tis grateful I am for your lovely sharing of these insights into a fine and loving Folk. (as I have been impressed to believe from my enjoyment of Travel Programs featuring Wales, on the television [smile])

Lovingly ...

John-Michael said...

The photograph entitled "Me" motivated me to do a bit of research (since we are talking about our names). Thus, I found this ...

"Origin of the name Hazel:

Taken from the name of the hazelnut tree, which is derived from the Old English hæsel (hazel). Alternatively, the name can also be derived from the Hebrew hazā'ēl (God sees).

(I smiled with my discovery of the "alternative" meaning. For it so perfectly suits the striking impression made by your photo.)

I am grateful for this opportunity to share a bit of Life and living with you. Thank you for your hospitality.

willow said...

Happy Saint David's Day! This is so very charming. And don't forget my favorite baritone, Bryn Terfel!!

sallymandy said...

How interesting! Now I'd love to know how to pronounce Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus. The Welsh language has always fascinated me though I know next to nothing about it.

It was great to open up your page and see those beautiful daffies.

K. said...

Ah, Wales! Where "w" is a vowel and no word can be too long!

Dylan Thomas and Richard Burton were Welsh as well, no?

The Clever Pup said...


My mother says it's something like "Dud Gwill doo e harpus"

but I think the double-D is pronounced TH.

We should ask Guilia Geranium - she'll know, she used to sing in Welsh as a kid.

mouse (aka kimy) said...

great post!

I heard that it was st. david day late in the day sunday, and was sad I missed it when I went to put up a post or made our menu for our sunday family dinner (I might have made potato leek soup!).

I visited wales a few years ago with my daughter and we have some wonderful memories of cardiff and swansea (the two places we visited) I hope you make it there one day soon....