St. David\'s Day parade, Cardiff. A riot of Welsh flags is seen on St. John Street, in 2014.

St. David's Day parade, Cardiff. A riot of Welsh flags is seen on St. John Street, in 2014.Gareth James /

Today, March 1, is St. David's Day, the Christian feast celebrated annually in Wales to honor the death of their patron saint, know as "Dewi Sant" in Welsh.

St. David's Day is celebrated on March 1 annually, the date said to be the anniversary of Saint David's death in 589 AD, however, this is not certain. A native of Wales, David was a member of the Royal Family of Cunedda and rose to fame as the archbishop and founder of a number of monasteries. 

In celebration of St. David's Day, across Wales, daffodils, and leeks, the national symbols of the country are worn. Saint David is said to have eaten only leeks while fasting and also advised soldiers to wear leeks on their helmets while fighting against the Saxons so that they could distinguish each other from their enemies. 

Ordinarily, on March 1, parades would take place in cities and towns across Wales. For sure today, the Welsh flag, the flag of Saint David (a yellow cross on a black field), and the symbols of dragons will be displayed proudly. Also, popular ways of celebrating the national holiday are attending or holding choir recitals where the national anthem is played. 

Who was St. David?

Saint David was a Celtic monk born towards the end of the 5th century and was Archbishop of Wales. He spread the word of Christianity across Wales, founding 11 churches across Wales and Brittany. His influence is shown by the number of churches dedicated to him in Wales.

It is always observed on March 1st, as the tradition is that he died on that day in 589 AD. However, if you do the maths this would mean that David had lived for over 100 years. A mightily impressive age to get to in the 6th century.

While not recognized as the national day of Wales until the 18th century, the feast of St David dates back to 1120 AD, when David was canonized by Pope Callistus II. St David was recognized by some as the national patron saint during the period of Welsh resistance to the Normans.

In 2023 despite still not being recognized as a national public holiday it is still celebrated widely.

Today is a day of pride for the Welsh and for all who love the country. So we wish all those celebrating Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! (Happy St. David's Day)