Tuesday, 1 March 2016

1st March 2016 - Happy St David's Day - "Do the little things"

Thought for the day:"Notice outside London theatre: The part of the Welshman has been filled. The Dai is cast."

Happy St David's Day 2016:
Who was St David and why do we celebrate his special day? Something of interest below for those who didn’t know already !!

St David is the patron saint of Wales and also of doves.
St David, known as Dewi Sant in Welsh, was born to Sant, a prince of Cardigan, and St Non, the daughter of a chieftain in around 500 AD. 

He was recognised as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans.
St David studied under St Paulinus in Cardigan, before he went on pilgrimages, travelling to Wales, Cornwall, Britanny, Ireland and Jerusalem, where he was made an archbishop.
He helped to spread the word of Christianity, and he founded around 12 monastaries in his lifetime. He also helped to suppress Pelegrian heresy, where people believed that original sin did not taint human nature and people are capable of choosing good or evil without divine aid.
Monastaries founded by him were known for their extreme asceticism, where monks abstained from worldly pleasures, living on a diet of bread, vegetables, water and milk. 

They also did all hard labour themselves, including farming without the aid of ox to plow the fields.
While little is known about St David's life, he is known for performing miracles. His most famous miracle was when he was preaching to a large crowd at the Synod of Brefi and raised the ground beneath him into a hill so his sermon could be heard by all. 

St David also lived after eating bread poisoned by monks at his monastary who tired of their life of austerity, and restored the sight of his tutor, St Paulinus. 

In medieval times, St David was thought to be the nephew of King Arthur. In some stories, it is his mother who was the niece of King Arthur. Legend also says that St Patrick foresaw David's birth.
St David is thought to have died on March 1, 589 AD, and his remains were buried in St David's Cathedral in Pembrokeshire, which was a popular place of pilgrimage after he was canonised in 1120 AD. 

His shrine was removed by Vikings in the 10th and 11th centuries, and a new shrine constructed in its place in the 13th Century.
Two pilgrimages to his shrine at St David's Cathedral is thought to be equivalent to a pilgrimage to the Vatican and three are equivalent to a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.
St David has been patron saint of Wales since the 12th century.

Symbols and images associated with St David
The flag of St David is a yellow cross on a black background. 

On St David's Day, the flag of St David and Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon, Wales's national flag), will be flown more than usual.
Images of St David often depict him on a hill with a white dove on his shoulder. The dove represents the Holy Spirit which gifted St David with eloquent speech when he preached. Some stories say the dove is depicted because a love landed on his shoulder on the day he miraculously raised a hill to preach. 

People often wear leeks in remembrance of St David's guidance during the battle against the Saxons when, supposedly, St David advised Welsh warriors to wear a leek during a battle with the Saxons, so enemies and allies could be distinguished.
They won the battle and leeks became a Welsh symbol.

Famous last words
During St David's last sermon he said words to his followers were: "Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us." 

"Do the little things" has become a well-known inspirational saying in Wales.

How is St David's day celebrated?
The 17th century diarist Samuel Pepys noted how Welsh celebrations in London for St David's day would spark wider counter-celebrations amongst their English neighbours, with life-sized effigies of Welshmen being symbolically lynched.
By the 18th century the custom had arisen of confectioners producing "Taffies" – gingerbread figures baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat - on St David's Day.
These days, St David's Day is celebrated mainly in Wales or large populations Welsh expats living outside the UK.
People celebrate St David's day by wearing a daffodil, the national symbol of Wales, or a leek, St David's personal symbol. In Wales people, particularly children, wear traditional Welsh costume.
Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet.
Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes.
The outfits originated during the 18th and 19th centuries.
Children in Wales enjoy traditional Welsh dances, sing Welsh folk songs and recite Welsh poems, and take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau. 

And no Welsh jokes about sheep now...

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