Today (March 1st) is St David’s Day, or Dydd Gŵyl Dewi as it is known in Welsh. Read on to find out more about Wales’ National Day. Who was St David? St David is the patron saint of Wales, and was a bishop of Menevia during the 6th century. He was responsible for helping to spread Christian teachings across his homeland. Images of St David often show him standing on a hill, which is representative of one of the most famous stories about him. While preaching at Synod of Llanddewibrefi, such a crowd assembled that St David caused the ground beneath his feet to rise up so everyone could see and hear him. Why March 1st? March 1st is believed to be the date St David died in 589. However, St David’s Day was not actually made a day of national celebration until the 18th century . Today, people across Wales and many in the rest of the UK commemorate it. However, it is not a public holiday, despite widespread support in Wales for it to be made one. Customs The symbol for St David is the leek, and many people in Wales mark his day by wearing a brooch in the shape of the vegetable. Another emblem of the event is the daffodil and all across the UK people mark St David’s Day by wearing a daffodil brooch or buying the flowers to arrange in their home and use as a table centrepiece. Young girls are encouraged to really get into the spirit of the day by dressing in the country’s national costume. This consists of a long woollen skirt, red shawl and white lace-edged cap with a tall black stovepipe hat worn on top. Of course, it is unlikely women in Welsh rural communities centuries ago would have worn this exact outfit, but it’s the one we’re most familiar with today and wearing the costume is a great way to show some national pride. Traditions It is customary for towns and villages to hold a parade on St David’s Day, with all the locals lining the streets to watch it go by. The most well known of these is the huge carnival that makes its way across Cardiff City Centre every March 1st. School children in traditional costumes, musicians and street dancers make their way through the city, accompanied by some very famous faces. Indeed, it is a recent custom for the local school children to construct giant figurines to represent some of Wales’ best-known exports. Among the models to appear in 2012 were Dame Shirley Bassey, Sir Tom Jones and Nessa from BBC’s Gavin and Stacey. St David’s Day meal It is traditional to serve cawl on St David’s Day. This stew is close to a national dish for the country, so it’s no surprise it is served on Welsh national day. Cawl is a rich broth containing bacon or beef and root vegetables like potatoes, carrot and swede. The best way to eat it is with bread and some Welsh cheese. Fishguard in Pembrokeshire holds a cawl crawl every year, when the town’s restaurants and pubs make their own recipe and people are able to travel from one to another sampling the different broths as they go. Language Insight would like to wish you a happy St David’s Day. If you require either Welsh translation or interpreting services, contact us today.