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St David’s Day in Wales

Written by Ginnie James on

1 March is St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales, which we mark by wearing either a daffodil or a leek. Children wear traditional – and not so traditional! – Welsh costumes to school and St David’s Day musical celebrations are taking place all over the country today in all sor 1 March is St David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales, which we mark by wearing either a daffodil or a leek. Children wear traditional – and not so traditional! – Welsh costumes to school and St David’s Day musical celebrations are taking place all over the country today in all sorts of venues from Aberystwyth to Abergavenny, Bangor to Brecon, Caernarfon to Cardiff. . .

According to legend, the C7th King Cadwaladr of Gwynedd ordered his soldiers to identify themselves by wearing a leek on their helmets when engaged in a battle against the English in a leek field. While this story may have been made up by the Elizabethan English poet Michael Drayton, it is known that the leek has been a symbol of Wales for a long time. Shakespeare himself refers to the custom of wearing a leek as an “ancient tradition” in Henry V when Henry says that he is wearing a leek “for I am Welsh, you know.”

British one pound coins from, for example, 1990 bear the design of a leek in a coronet to represent Wales but perhaps the most visible use of the leek is as the cap badge of the Welsh Guards, a regiment of the British army.

The wearing of daffodils is a more recent and perhaps simply a more attractive development of the national emblem, with daffodils flowering in most areas of Wales in March. The connection between the two is stronger in Welsh with ‘Leek’ being Cenhinen while the Welsh for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr (Peter’s leek).

Check out WalesCottage Holidays properties in all areas of Wales, from Snowdonia and Anglesey in the north to Pembrokeshire in the south-west. 

Ginnie James

Written by

I am Ginnie & I began working for Wales Cottage Holidays in August 2000. My blogs cover a wide variety of subjects, from Welsh history (I have a bit of a thing for castles) to its modern culture (I also have a bit of a thing for rugby players!)