Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant – Saint David’s Day

Bore da pawb. Heddiw yw Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant, y Diwrnod Cenedlaethol Cymru. Dymuniadau gorau i chi i gyd!

Good morning everyone. Today is Saint David’s Day, the National Day of Wales. Best wishes to you all!

Dewi Sant/St David was born towards the end of the 5th Century in the region of West Wales known as Ceredigion. Whilst alive he built a reputation for his preaching, teaching and simple living amongst the Celtic people. He founded a monastery at Glyn Rhosin, which became an important early Christian centre. Dewi died on 1st March 589 and was buried in what is now known as St David’s Cathedral in Pembrokeshire where his shrine became a popular place of pilgrimage.

For centuries 1st March has been a national festival in Wales with parades, concerts, poetry readings and of course traditional food all being enjoyed. Around the country not only will you see the flag of Wales, Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon) being flown, but also the flag of St David, a simple yellow cross on a black field.P1030045

Today is also the time when Welsh exiles around the world remember ‘The Land of My Fathers’ and try to ease the sense of “Hiraeth” that yearning homesickness tinged with grief, nostalgia, wistfulness and pride that we often feel.

The National Flower of Wales is the delightful and cheery daffodil which brightens the hedgerows at this time of year. I hope you like them as much as I do. My late Grandmother always said that when you take daffodils into a house, then you take sunshine into that house; I think she got that pretty much spot on!

In the words of St David:
“Gwnewch y pethau bychain mean bywyd.” “Do ye the little things in life.”

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad.

Hwyl Fawr!
Dookes

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16 thoughts on “Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant – Saint David’s Day

  1. Easy for you to say Dookes…. This might sound like a stupid question since you’re Welsh, but do you speak it? I mean, were you raised speaking Welsh or was it like the Ireland where Irish was only spoken in certain parts of the country and everybody else spoke English?

    Hoping that you are okay ‘in the sticks’ with that horrible storm! Sending warm, daffodil (or jonquils as some call them) thoughts your way!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hello AGMA, as always its nice to hear from you.
      Language is funny, to some it defines people while to others it’s almost a “Nice to have” thing, though certainly it’s very useful for communication!
      In my case I wasn’t brought up in a Welsh speaking household, though my late father tried valiantly to get to grips with Cymraeg (the Welsh language) and encouraged me to do so as well. Because of Dad’s career we moved around quite a bit and so I only ever got to practice the language when we went back to Wales for holidays.
      Mother never bothered to try, actually she has never tried to learn any other language. When I was about eleven I remember struggling with some French homework and was getting a hard time from Mother about it, which was a bit unfair because I’ve always really loved learning any language. I remember saying something along the lines of if she thought it was so easy why didn’t she learn French? Only to be told “Oh I’m too old to learn anything new now.” She was about 36! I’ve never forgotten that and as a result have made a point never to stop learning!
      Anyway, I digress.
      Over the years I got quite OK at speaking Welsh to my friends in Wales, the regular return visits certainly helped as did a superb Welsh gentleman by the name of Dai Richard Jones. Dai, a true native Welsh speaker, pointed out that as I was Welsh that was how we would converse and as we were working together on steam railway locomotives in Wales it was only correct so to do! I guess that in a way Dai taught me not to be afraid of language, but what ever it is that you are trying to learn or speak, embrace it, love it and just go for it!
      These days I rarely get to spend much time in Wales, save for quick flying visits to rugby matches! As a result my skills in Welsh have sadly declined, as with any language you need to practice regularly – if you don’t use it you loose it! So today I wouldn’t by a long way consider myself fluent anymore, but I can order things in a bar or go shopping, so its not all bad.
      What I do find though, is that if I can sit in the corner of a café or bar where people are speaking any language I can “tune in” and gradually things come back, be it French, German, Italian or Welsh that I’m trying to quick-start.
      On a really positive note though, the Welsh language is now, by law, taught in schools throughout Wales and new generations are now using it by choice.
      When I was young, there were limited strongholds of the language in the North and West of the country, that has changed now and you can hear it being spoken throughout Wales; that makes me very happy!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Sounds very much like Ireland where Irish was outlawed for so many years, but kept alive in those isolated places that the English couldn’t really control. Now I believe it’s offered in schools. Not sure it’s mandated. I have an Irish friend who sends her kids to schools that only teach in Irish which is pretty cool.

        Funny we should get on languages. I just recently started doing Dulingo for German. I had 4 years of German in high school and a semester in college, but that was a loooonnnngggg time ago. My husband’s pursuit of French is inspiring me. I’ve forgotten so much, but you are absolutely right – you just need to get out there an speak it and don’t worry if your perfect!

        I know you could get up to speed in no time with Welsh again! And I’m sure your French and Italian are better than basic since you tend to travel there a bit.

        Hubs and I will be in Belgium (for the Tour of Flanders) and the Alsace late March/early April. Any trips planned on Harls? 🙂

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      • Unlike Ireland the teaching of Welsh wasn’t outlawed, it just didn’t happen in a lot of schools. Nowadays it’s a mandatory part of the curriculum and quite right too! There are also some schools where only Welsh is spoken and all lessons are taught in the old language, y’r hen iaith.
        Lots of trip planning going on at the moment AGMA, but also loads of other things happening in the world of Dookes; so who knows where the road will take us this year, we’ll have to wait and see!

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  2. For all your shaky command of the language, it’s way better than mine, which is nonexistent. The only input we got was from BBC Cymru, and I must admit I’ve put more effort into learning Spanish. Thanks for the background on St David’s Day, from which only thing was missing – it’s also my daughter’s birthday. I remember coming back from the clinic and watching Wales beat France…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I find your posts to be extraordinarily interesting…well written, informative, lovely photography…
    Plus, this post piqued my interest even more. My ancestry is heavily influenced with Danish and Welsh blood and as I get older, I find myself much more interested in learning more!

    Like

    • You are very kind, I just write of my experiences and feelings, mostly whilst travelling by motorcycle.
      I think that we are all very lucky nowadays, the facility to explore where our ancestors came from is much simpler; the more you delve into it the more you find that the lines get blurred as many of us are such a mélange of backgrounds, I find that quite nice!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I agree with that. It is an adventure learning about ones background, with all the many resources at our fingertips.

        Liked by 1 person

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