St David's Day as celebrated in a Cardiff school

by BardofEly

St David or Dewi Sant is the patron saint of Wales and his day is 1 March. Daffodils and leeks are worn then as emblems.

Childhood memories of St David's Day
I was born and bred in Cardiff the capital of Wales and went to school at Llandaff City Junior School. St David's Day is something I still have memories off although I hated school and although I am now in my '50s.
St David's Day is a well-known celebration in Wales because St David, or Dewi Sant, as he is called in Welsh, is the patron saint of the country and 1 March is his special day.
I am not sure why that should be or why he was selected as the patron saint of Wales but I do know there is a Welsh city called St David's down on the coast of West Wales. It has a cathedral that I visited on holidays with my family when I was a boy.

Saint David

Dewi Sant
Stained glass window in Jesus College Chapel, Oxford, showing St David. Late 19th century.
Stained glass window in Jesus College...

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St David's Cathedral and Llandaff Cathedral

Welsh churches

Llandaff has its own cathedral too, making it a city within a city. Llandaff, although a village suburb of Cardiff, has city status because of its cathedral just like St David's is a Welsh city too.

The daffodil is a Welsh emblem and they grow in gardens by the village green and in Llandaff Cathedral cemetery.The daffodil is very much a sign of spring and so St David's Day is also, in many ways, a celebration of the season as well, although the first day of spring officially isn't until the 21st, which is the Vernal Equinox and just happens to be my birthday.

On St David's Day I remember that we could wear a daffodil or a leek pinned to a school blazer lapel.

You could buy ready-made small leeks made out of felt with a green top and a white bottom. They were a pleasant alternative to the rather smelly vegetable emblem.

Most boys used to prefer to wear a leek to a daffodil because flowers were thought of as for girls. I used to love flowers so wasn't worried about what the other boys thought anyway.

I remember the teachers used to have a vase of daffodils on their desks on St David's Day.

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A traditional Welsh tune

The Ashgrove

A Welsh song

I also remember that we had St David's Day school celebrations and a song we used to sing was The Ashgrove (Llwyn Onn). Some of its lyrics are about memories, so it is rather apt that I include it here:

"The ash grove how graceful, how plainly 'tis speaking
The wind through it playing has language for me.
Whenever the light through its branches is breaking,
A host of kind faces is gazing at me.
The friends from my childhood again are before me
Each step brings a memory as freely I roam.
With soft whispers laden the leaves rustle o’er me
The ash grove, the ash grove alone is my home."

This was all a lot of fun and made the day more interesting but the best thing about St David's Day was we got the afternoon off as a half-day holiday.

Copyright © 2012 Steve Andrews. All Rights Reserved.

St David's

Antique prints of St David's cathedral
WALES: St David's Cathedral SW view, antique print, 1838

Antique Print: WALES: St David's Cathedral SW view. Caption below print: 'St. David's Cathedral. South West view'. Type: Antique steel engraving Date of printing: 1838. Size: 10...

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WALES: St David's Cathedral SW view: St David's, antique print, 1850

Antique Print: WALES: St David's Cathedral SW view: St David's. Caption below print: 'St. David's Cathedral. South West view'. Type: Hand coloured antique steel engraving Date o...

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Updated: 11/11/2012, BardofEly
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