March 1st may have come and gone, but the patron saint of Wales celebrated on that date, St David, is a figure who perhaps deserves more attention than any of the other national patron saints in these islands.
The day is one to mark a bit of Welsh culture, with many no doubt trying to impress their Welsh friends with a few images of daffodils, leeks and dragons. However, it is not celebrated half as much as two other saint’s days either side of it, St Valentine’s Day or St Patrick’s Day.
Of course, the reason for this may be a simple one, based on the twin appeals of romance and Guinness. Indeed, it is certainly fair to say that the Irish diaspora have the biggest party for any saint when March 17th comes about.
However, St David does have one advantage over the rest; He was actually from Wales. Born in Pembrokeshire around the year 500, he was the grandson of the king of Ceredigion and during his life he established many monastic settlements and St David’s Cathedral. His life and legacy has been celebrated on March 1st – the day of his death in 1589 – since 1120.
This is somewhat in contrast with other patron saints. St Andrew was one of the 12 apostles and would never have been anywhere near Scotland, while St George was a Roman who died in the Holy Land without ever passing near the land of Hadrian’s Wall and Watling Street. His elevation actually caused England to drop its native-born patron saint, the Saxon St Edmund.
As for Patrick, his life and works were indeed focused in Ireland, but he was born somewhere in the west of Britain, which means he might be Welsh too.
The Welshness of David is just one example of how authentic Welsh culture is. And if you want to experience another instance, beautiful hand-carved love spoons offer another taste of Wales that really is unique.