St. David’s Day is one of the biggest celebrations in Wales and this year is set to be the biggest yet. With plenty going on in the city, it’s an exciting time of year for everyone in Cardiff, we take a look back on the history of the national celebration, how we celebrate and St. David’s Day in Cardiff in 2018.
The day has its roots in religion but has become a day of celebration of Welsh people and culture and people from all over the country come together for the Welsh festivities.
Saint David The Person
As with most patron saints, Saint David (or Dewi Sant) was a Bishop and got his education in Cardiganshire before embarking on pilgrimages across the country. Saint David came to settle at what is now called St David’s, in South West Wales where he established a Celtic monastic community at the spot where St David’s Cathedral stands today.
He soon became a renowned teacher and preachers in the religious community and founded numerous monastic settlements and churches in the nearby area. There are many legends attached to the famous bishop, rumours of miracles and events that beggar belief. The most well-known of all is perhaps the miracle where he made the ground he stood on rise up to give him elevation above a crowd he was preaching to and a white dove settled on his shoulder. This dove came to be his signature emblem.
Saint David’s year of death is disputed, but his remains are buried at St David’s Cathedral and the shrine became a popular place for pilgrimage during the Middle Ages. This shrine was caught up in the crossfire when Viking raided the cathedral during the 10th and 11th centuries and had to be remade in 1275, although the original base still remains.
The exact date of Saint David’s death isn’t 100% verified, tradition has set the date March 1st in stone and is the day we celebrate the patron saint of our country.
Celebrating St. David’s Day
Bright yellow daffodils, green leeks and children in traditional dress are common sights during the celebrations of St David’s Day. Leeks are adopted because, according to legend, St David advised Britons to wear leeks in their caps when they went to battle against the Saxons, so they could easily distinguish friend from foe. Tradition still stands that soldiers in Welsh regiments across the world eat a raw leek on St David’s Day to celebrate their nation’s national day.
Daffodils are frequently worn and displayed due to a confusion in language. In the Welsh language, leek is Cenhien, while daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr. The mix up became so common that the daffodil was adopted as the second emblem of Wales and it proudly portrayed next to the leek.
Big parades, day-long celebrations and plenty of games and parties are put on throughout the day, or the weekend closest. Eisteddfodau, or school concerts, with Welsh literature, music and performances are put on to celebrate the culture that we love in our country.
Events to Celebrate St. David’s Day in Cardiff
Cardiff is the epicentre for St David’s Day celebrations, with the national parade gracing our streets year after year and the city coming together to be jubilant about our heritage and traditions and marvel at the progress we’ve made and the obstacles we’ve overcome.
As usual, a colourful flow of red and yellow will traverse the city with street performers, local people and fiery dragons all taking centre stage through the streets of Cardiff. Starting from midday in King Edward VII and ending near the stunning city hall, St David’s Day in Cardiff is set to be the most exciting event of the spring calendar in Wales.
When the parade reaches Cardiff City Hall, there will be the classic mass rendition of the national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, which is sure to make you feel proud to be Welsh.
St. David’s Day in Cardiff at The Exchange Hotel
We’re so excited to celebrate our first St. David’s Day in Cardiff, as an integral part of the city’s history, the former Coal Exchange has been present for more than 100 St David’s Day celebrations over the years, but never as the luxury hotel that we stand as now.
All our rooms and suites echo the history of Cardiff and all the components that make the city great today and our restaurant prides itself on sourcing ingredients from local areas and people. The Exchange Hotel is proud to be a beacon in Cardiff for tourists and locals alike and we hope you’ll join us as we come together with the people of the city as we celebrate St. David’s Day in Cardiff.