Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!

Celebrated on 1st March, St David's Day is the national day of Wales and has been celebrated since the 12th century.

Who was St David?

St David is the patron saint of Wales and is often referred to as one of the most significant figures in the Welsh Age of Saints. He was born in the year 500 and was the grandson of the King of Ceredigion, Ceredig ap Cunedda. Legend has it that St David was born on a cliff top near Capel Non, which is on the South-West coast of Wales. The ruins of a small ancient chapel near a holy well mark his birth.

During medieval times, it was also thought that St David was the nephew of King Arthur. St David became a priest after being educated at the monastery, Hen Fynyw, and according to legend, was said to have performed many miracles during his lifetime.

He became a missionary, travelling throughout Wales and Britain, and is said to have made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, where he brought back a stone that now resides in an altar in St David's Cathedral. St David's Cathedral was built on the site of his original monastery.

St David died on 1st March 589 and was buried at St David's Cathedral, a well-visited pilgrimage place during the Middle Ages.

His last words to his followers were, "Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do." The phrase "Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd", which means "Do the little things in life", - is still a well-known proverb in Wales.

What is St David's Day, and how is it celebrated?

St David's Day is known as a feast day. A feast day is the day when a saint dies, and as saints are considered to already be in Heaven, the date when a saint dies is believed to be their 'heavenly birthday' or 'entrance to Heaven'.

Traditionally St David's Day is celebrated with dancing, singing and parades, and songs are sung in Welsh and English along with the National Anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau.

The daffodil and leek are both national symbols of Wales, and you'll often see them being displayed or worn as a sign of national pride and to celebrate the day.

An interesting fact is that the leek is a national symbol for Wales, as St David told the Welsh soldiers to wear them on their helmets during battle to help differentiate them from the enemy.

Daffodils are Wales's national flower, and the Welsh for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr, which translates to St Peter's Leek. You'll see plenty of daffodils in bloom in late February and early March across Wales.

St David's Day is not an official public holiday, but it is a chance to celebrate all things Welsh.

Welsh dishes and recipes

We've pulled together some of our favourite Welsh dishes for you to try on St David's Day.

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Welsh rarebit

Traditionally, this dish is made with a hot cheese based sauce served on slices of toasted bread.

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Welsh lamb cawl

A hearty stew made with lamb and seasonal vegetables, cawl is sometimes served in a wooden bowl and eaten with a wooden spoon. It is often served with homemade bread and Welsh cheese.

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Welsh cakes

Known as 'picau ar y maen' in Welsh which translates to 'cakes on the stone', Welsh cakes are a traditional sweet bread in Wales.

Art and craft ideas to celebrate St David's Day

At Abbeyfield, our houses and homes enjoy art and craft sessions, so we've collated some easy arts and crafts you can do at home to celebrate the day.

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St David's Day colouring sheets

Download these beautiful free St David's Day colouring sheets from Hobbycraft. 

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Daffodil pinwheel windmill

A lovely craft for St David's Day found on NutureStore, this daffodil pinwheel will bring smiles all round.

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3D pop up daffodil card

This 3D pop up daffodil card from Red Ted Art is quick and easy to make and will help brighten up your day.

Retirement homes in Wales

Thinking about your retirement? Abbeyfield has many homes across Wales.

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Abbeyfield House, Brecon

Abbeyfield House offers superb views towards the stunning Brecon Beacons and has twelve residential flats. We offer sheltered housing for older people in a very friendly community.

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Wales Society

The Abbeyfield Wales Society is a registered charity dedicated to supporting the elderly during their senior years. They have 15 lovely retirement homes, offering sheltered housing, in a number of different locations in Wales.

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Ty Abbeyfield

Ty Abbeyfield provides residents with the privacy of their own accommodation combined with the companionship of others, home cooked meals, and the security and support of the dedicated house staff. 

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Colwyn Bay Society

The Colwyn Bay Society have three sheltered houses set in mature attractive gardens, that are all situated within easy walking distance to local shops, supermarkets, bus stops and the promenade at Rhos on Sea. Their close proximity to the Snowdonia National Park and the beautiful North Wales Coast, is perfect for your retirement.