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Today celebrates a very special day in the Welsh calender. For today is Saint Davids day. This the day when all who are Welsh, celebrate their nationality. I love St Davids day as it allows us to become unashamedly patriotic and deliciously overinduldge in all things Welsh. I love being Welsh. I was born brought up and continue to live in a South wales valley. I am very much a valleys girl. I have a deep loyalty to my heritage and am deeply passionate about all things Welsh related. I speak a little Welsh, but understand alot more than I can speak. There are things about Wales that when thinking about, never fail to bring a tear to my eye. One of these things is the old chapels that were once the heart of any Welsh community. When i was little my bopa (aunty) would take me to chapel where I would sit in the pews amongst a caring and passionate congregation. It would be packed out on a Sunday morning, there would actually be men stood at the back as there was no seating left. The minister would often carry out his service in Welsh and the hymns would mostly be sung in our Native tongue. There is nothing like the sound of a Welsh congregation singing a Welsh hymn. It is truly breathtaking. The sound of the deep Welsh tennor against the light Soprano makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. But the thing that moves me the most is the passion and gusto in which these beautiful songs are sung. Another thing that stirs me is the Welsh rugby. Now I am a girly girl but on an international day there is something that happens to me that turns me into a raving Welsh supporter. I know full well it is not the game. I do not understand it, despite my rugby playing husband trying in vain to explain. But it is the atmosphere that soaks me in and then spits me out exhausted after the game. Everyone is brought together by their nationality. Everyone is on the same side. The roar that goes up in the pubs across wales when a Welshboy scores a try would sure enough reach the heavens and stir St David himself. St David is our patron Saint of Wales. This is celebrated every year on March 1st. St david lived as a christian monk in the 16th century. Now on Saint Davids day children in all Welsh schools are encouraged to dress in national costume. This tradition goes back generations and generations from our ancestors before us. The traditional welssh costume is made up of a black bonnet, which is fastened under the chin. A black and red checked shawl over a white blouse and a long black skirt with a white apron. The shawl is then fastened with a symbol of our national flower or emblem which is a daffodil or a leek. The boys usually wear a welsh rugby shirt. My son wants to be a rugby international player when he is older. (much to his fathers pride) and therefore loves anything to do with the game. He is so excited that he can wear his welsh kit to school today. Beats a shirt and pullover!! Tonight for supper I will make a traditional Welsh fare. I will make lamb cawl. Recipe 4 large leeks 6 large carotts 6 large potatoes 2 large turnips 2 large parsnips 3 sticks of celery 2 small rolled breasts of lamb. Put the two breasts of lamb in a large saucepan. Cover with cold water. Add one of the leeks. one of the carotts, one of the sticks of celery and one of the parsnips. Add some lamb stock and bring to the boil. Simmer this gently for two hours. Skimming the fat that forms on the top of the saucepan. After two hours, remove breasts of lamb from pan. I then get rid of all the fat on the lamb. I hate the fat but some people may like it. Once all the fat is removed from the lamb and the lamb is cut into juicy chunks, I then return it to the pan. I then add all of the pre washed and chunky chopped veg. I then leave this to boil for approx 45 minutes. I add some chopped parsley and serve with warm bread. My family would easily rate this their favourite meal. It is delicious and totally healthy. I love to see my children tucking into turnips and parsnips something that they would never normally do. So today is the day when us Welshys celebrate our forefathers and allow ourselves a day to induldge in who we are. Thankyou for allowing me to spout on regarding my patriotic tendencies. I will allow you the same on your national day. x
Judging by my current photograph of a leek and a daffodil you may wonder why I chose that however as I am welsh it was to celebrate St David's Day which falls on the 1st March each year. Many years ago I remember the celebrations that took place which mainly occured in local towns with fetes being held and many of the children dressing up in traditional welsh costume and celebrating all things welsh, however as with most things the traditional fete has stopped and St David's Day is not celebrated as publicly as it used to be and this is similar with St George's Day also. I remember when St David's Day fell on a week day it was vital that you went to school wearing a daffodil or a home made leek and usually these were made in school ready for us to wear on March 1st, however when I speak to my friend's children many are unaware of St David and the day in which we celebrate which is a shame so I thought I would do my part and write about the Patron Saint of Wales. *~*Who was St David?*~* Dewi Sant or Saint David is the patron saint of Wales, he lived in the 6th centruy as a celtic monk, abbott and bishop who helped to spread christianity among the pagan celtic tribes. St David's father was Sant the son of Cerefig who was known very well as the Prince of Ceredigion a County in South West Wales and St David's mother was Saint Non the daughter of a local chieftain and rumoured to be niece of King Arthur. St David founded a monastery at Glyn Rhosyyn where St David's Cathedral stands today. It was said that he was a tall man with a great physical strength living to over 100 years, he spent his time spreading Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of Western Britain. The most incredible story is that he performed a miracle when he was preaching at the Synod of Llandewibrefi (yes it is a real town not just made up by Little Britain) and he caused the ground to ride underneath him so he would be seen and heard. St David is said to have died in 589 and his fame spread from the 12th century onwards as far as Ireland and Brittany and his cathedral became a popular centre for pilgrimage after he was officially recogniesed as a Catholic Saint in 1120. *~*St David's Day*~* St David's Day dates back to 1120 when Dewi was canonised by Pope Callactus II and March 1st was included in the church calendar. The history of St Dvid is unknown as it is very hard to determine how much is fact and how much is fiction. It is a very important day to the Welsh and is a great time for celebration in Wales although the smaller towns rarely partake in public celebrations anymore. It has been celebrated since the 18th century and many people still wear a daffodil or leek in rememberance of St David as these are the symbols of Wales. When I was a young child there used to be a street party on St David's day and this involved us wearing Welsh National costume which for myself consisted of a petticoat and overcoat made of flannel, a tall hat worn over a white frilly bonnet and a shawl. My brothers had to wear a white shirt, flannel waistcoast and black trousers with black shoes and the street party was enjoyed by many sharing welsh produce and enjoying the street entertainment of singing and dancing. As I reached high school the street parties seemed to fade and all that occured on St David's day was the Eisteddfod which was a competition in Wales involving singing, dancing and poetry and one year we managed to get to 2nd place with a welsh poem. In 2003 the USA recognised St David's day for the first time officially and lit the Empire State building in red, white and green the national colours of the welsh flag. Certainly the larger towns in Wales do still celebrate St David's Day especially the capital Cardiff where a concert takes place in St David's Hall but many of the smaller towns like the one I live in did not seem to be celebrating at all I noticed a few welsh flags dotted about in my local Asda but there was no active celebrations taking place at all. Normally there is some kind of entertainment such as singing or dancing but there was nothing, nothing in the high street, maybe I had missed something and the school children celebrated it the day before but all I do know that in the few years it has been since I left school this little bit of history seems to be fast disappearing.