How did we end up wearing a leek or a daffodil for the Welsh holiday?

Daffodils, the flower symbol of St. David's Day
Photo: Unsplash, Annie Spratt

Dydd Gwyl Dewi, or the feast of St. David, has been celebrated on the 1st of March since the Saint’s death in 589 AD – but it wasn’t until the 18th century when the celebrations became nation-wide.

Traditionally, you eat delicious food like lamb or mutton, leek dishes and Welsh cakes to celebrate the day, decorate your space with daffodils, take part in activities and fly the national flag of Wales or the yellow cross flag of St. David.

The saint was known for helping the Welsh in a battle with the Saxons, where he famously told them to wear a leek in their caps to recognise each other, leading to a great victory. He was also very strict with his diet, only eating vegetables and drinking water.

His most famous miracle happened at a gathering in Llanddewi Brefi where legend has it that St. David made the earth rise beneath his feet as not enough people could hear him.

That is why he is usually shown on a hillock holding a dove, although he is known for many other miracles, like raising people from the dead and restoring a blind man’s sight!

His famous saying, “Do the little things” or “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” in Welsh was one of his last words he spoke before he passed away.

Why not get involved in the festivities with our list of fun St. David's Day activities to commemorate him?

St David's Day Activities Ideas

  1. Bake some Welsh cakes!
    These lightly spiced cakes fried on a pan are delicious as a morning meal. Here is a recipe to get you started with these traditional treats.
  2. Attend a concert from your couch
    Traditionally, concerts and festivals or ‘Eisteddfod’ are held on the day to celebrate Welsh talent.
    This year, you can tune into the lockdown edition, the Carmarthenshire Theatres celebration featuring the official harpist of the Prince of Wales from your home? You can buy your ticket for £5.
  3. Take a stroll through the daffodils
    Wales is home to many National Trust parks and castles that will be celebrating St. David’s Day with interactive celebrations and daffodil-lined paths.
    Even across the UK, get into nature for the day and follow in the Saint’s pilgrimage footsteps.
  4. Wish a Happy St. David's Day
    St David Day card wih daffodils
    You can't visit this year, but wishing a Happy St. David's Day with a greeting card is allowed. If you're from Wales, you know that "Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus" is something you wish your friends and family. If you're not Welsh, do the right thing this year, and brighten up a close friend.

Get the Kids Involved

Holidays should always have some fun activities for the little ones to make great memories once they grow up.
Here are some St. David's Day activities for the little ones:

  1. Make a Welsh love spoon
    Traditionally, love spoons were intricately carved spoons given by a young man to his sweetheart. Make the spoons a fun craft task – young children can decorate a printable of the spoons with symbols like the key for luck and a bird for travel.
  2. Decorate the house with daffodil bunting
    Daffodils are the traditional flower of Wales and look beautiful in the spring. To make the bunting, paint some cut-out yellow card and use painted egg boxes to make the daffodil trumpets. You can then attach some ribbon to your daffodils and hang them up for a festive feel.
  3. Have your own Eisteddfod
    Kids love to perform their own songs and plays – why not make your own Welsh festival at home? From singing a daffodil song to getting ‘on stage’ together in your living room, you can bring the joy of St David’s Day into your home. You can even teach your kids to say daffodil or cennin pedr in Welsh.

We hope you liked our ideas. We wish you a Happy St. David's Day!