St David’s Day will soon be here, so we wanted to take some time to remind ourselves, who is St David?
St David’s Day is celebrated on March 1 every year, marking Wales’ national day. We have outlined the story behind the Welsh patron saint to remind us who we’re celebrating. David is believed to have been born around the year 520 and it was a time when Welsh Kings ruled small kingdoms and people made their living farming. Most people in Wales were Christians, and monasteries were important centres of prayer and learning.
Some believe that David was the son of Sanctus, King of Ceredigion and a nun called Nonnita (Non). His life as a monk was said to be a simple one, he and his fellow monks lived drinking only water and eating only bread and herbs. Meat and beer were not allowed and David became known as Dewi Dyfrwr (David the water drinker). The monks farmed the land, but David insisted that they pull the plough and carry their tools without the help of animals.
The stories of St David’s miracles include bringing a dead boy back to life by splashing the child’s face with tears and restoring a blind man’s sight. David’s best-known miracle allegedly happened in Llanddewi Brefi. He was preaching to a large crowd and some had difficulty hearing him. Suddenly a white dove landed on David’s shoulder, and as it did, the ground on which he stood rose up to make a hill, making it possible for everyone to see and hear him. Today, a church stands on the top of this hill and the dove became St David’s emblem, often appearing on his portraits and stained glass windows. Churches and chapels dedicated to David are found not just in Wales but also in south-west England and Brittany. David’s influence also spread to Ireland, where the Irish embraced his beliefs about caring for the natural world.
His final words to his followers were, “Do the little things, the small things you’ve seen me doing.” These words still inspire many people today. St David is believed to have died on 1 March 589.
We hope you enjoy your day of celebrations this March 1st.
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus, Happy Saint David’s Day