St David

Saint David is the patron saint of Wales

St. David was born towards the end of the fifth century, less than a hundred years after the last Roman legions had marched out of Wales. He was the son of Saint a scion of the royal house of Ceredigion, his mother was Non, daughter of Cynyr of Caio, remembered by numerous churches and holy wells in Wales, Cornwall and Brittany. Educated at Henfynyw (Old Menevia) in Ceredigion, where he ‘learned the alphabet, the psalms, the lessons for the whole year, the Masses and the Synaxis’, he founded a Celtic monastic community at Glyn Rhosin (The Vale of Roses) on the western headland of Sir Benfro, at the spot where St. David’s Cathedral stands today.

His foundation at Glyn Rhosin became one of the most important shrines of the Christian world, and the most important centre in Wales.

The date of Dewi Sant’s death is recorded as March 1st, but the year is uncertain – possibly 588. As his tearful monks prepared for his death St David uttered these words: Brothers be ye constant. The yoke which with single mind ye have taken, bear ye to the end; and whatsoever ye have seen with me and heard, keep and fulfil’ and as he died ‘Lords, brothers and sisters, be cheerful, keep the faith, and do those little things which ye have seen me do and heard me say.’

Saint David’s Day is the feast day of Saint David and falls on 1st of March each year. The date of March 1st was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.

Every year parades are held in Wales to commemorate St. David. The largest of these is held in Cardiff.For centuries the first of March has been a national festival. St David was recognized as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans. In 2003 in the United States, St. David’s Day was recognized officially as the national day of the Welsh, and on 1 March the Empire State Building was floodlit in the national colours, red, green and white. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, recitals and concerts.