With St David’s day heading our way we though we’d start giving you some ideas for things to do. As more events come in, we’ll let you know. We’ve kept it very simple and split it into categories……
First of all, some useful phrases to use on the day….
Bore da (Boh-reh dah) – Good morning
Prynhawn da (Prin-houn dah) – Good afternoon
Croeso I Gymru (Croy-so ee Gum-ree) – Welcome to Wales
Diolch (Dee-olch) – Thank you
Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (dee-the goil De-wi ha-peece) – Happy St David’s Day
The legacy of St David well and truly lives on here in South Wales and rightly so, he was a pretty remarkable man. St David was born in the year 500, the grandson of Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion. According to legend, his mother St Non gave birth to him on a Pembrokeshire clifftop during a fierce storm. That spot is actually marked by the ruins of Non’s Chapel. The nearby holy well is said to have healing powers.
St David became a renowned preacher, founding monastic settlements and churches in Wales, Brittany and Southwest England – including, (possibly) the abbey at Glastonbury. He supposedly made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem brought back a stone that now sits in an altar at St Davids Cathedral, built on the site of his original monastery.
St David died on 1 March (St David’s Day) in 589, so he did live a long and purposeful life. He was buried at the site of St Davids Cathedral, where his shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage throughout the Middle Ages. His last words to his followers came from a sermon he gave on the previous Sunday: ‘Be joyful, keep the faith, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do.’ The phrase ‘Gwnewch y pethau bychain mewn bywyd’ – ‘Do the little things in life’ – is still a well-known and used in Wales.
He apparently performed miracles, the most famous happened when he was preaching to a large crowd in Llanddewi Brefi. The people at the back complained that they couldn’t hear him, the ground where he was standing rose up to form a hill. A white dove, sent by God, then settled on his shoulder.
Perhaps the reason he lived such a long life is that he was a teetoal vegetarian. St David and his monks followed a simple life. They ploughed the fields by hand, rather than using oxen, and refrained from eating meat or drinking beer. St David himself was reputed to have consumed only leeks and water – which is perhaps why the leek became a national symbol of Wales.
So here’s our look at what’s on, where and when. Like all our guides it will build over the weeks as we hear about more events. We’ve included things we can do at home, stuff we can get the kids involved with in particular. Of course, there has to be a bit of baking. You can’t celebrate St David’s Day without a Welsh Cake and a slice Bara Brith.
ST DAVID’S DAY EVENTS
BBC NOW: St David’s Day Welsh Myth and Legend – Past and Present
A land long shrouded in myth and legend, storytelling and music have, and still do combine to forge Welsh culture. From the fabled stories in The Mabinogion with its tales of romance, tragedy and heroic sagas, to otherworldly folklore speaking of dragons, faeries, brave knights and patron saints, many in Wales have grown up with these much-loved stories.
Myth is not just a thing of the past in Wales though, the ability to weave together narrative and music is as relevant today as it has always been. From current Welsh folk ballads and music born in urban areas of the nation, to reflections of ancient Welsh myths told afresh by contemporary composers.
Join BBC NOW and conductor Jac van Steen for a St David’s Day concert that will celebrate the diverse traditions of the storytelling Wales is so famous for!
St David’s Day – Welsh Myth and Legend at St David’s Hall is on Wednesday 1st March at 7:30pm. Standard tickets are £15 but there’s a while range of concessions starting at £5. For more details, and tickets, go HERE.
Harps of the Royal Welsh College
Although not strictly a St David’s day event, The harp ensemble of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama did play on the day last year and are back again with a brilliantly varied programme of music by Welsh composers or inspired by the landscapes and traditions of Wales.
The harp ensemble of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama regularly performs recitals across the South Wales region, and the harpists are in demand for solo performances and corporate events across the UK. Over the past few years, members have performed at Buckingham Palace for senior members of the Royal Family, the Senedd for the opening of the Welsh Assembly Government, Downing Street in celebration of St David’s Day, as well as at official functions at the Welsh Government offices in London and Berlin, and in Osaka, Japan.
In 2017, the ensemble performed at the 13th World Harp Congress in Hong Kong and gave a recital at the 14th World Harp Congress held in Cardiff last year.
This lunchtime concert is at St David’s Hall in Cardiff on Tuesday 7th March at 1pm. Tickets are £6.50 on advance or £7.50 on the day, there are also various concessions. For more details, go HERE.
St David’s Day Run
St David’s Day Run is BACK in 2023, taking place in the iconic Cardiff Castle!!
Choose from either the 2KM, 5KM, or 10KM.
So, throw on your Welsh rugby jersey, run with your blow up dragon, don your leeks and daffodils and celebrate this special day!
The event is proud to be a Welsh Athletics affiliated race. Discounts are available for Welsh Athletics Entry (for runners affiliated to Welsh Athletics).
They will also be giving prizes to the fastest Man and Woman in the 5K and 10k. The first 3 men & women of the 5km & 10km will receive a monetary reward (£100,£75,£50) plus an additional prize.
The race is set in the iconic Cardiff Castle, with the course leading around the picturesque Bute Park, situated in the centre of Cardiff.
There will be entertainment, food and beverages available, bag & key drop, toilets.
10K and 5K runners receive a t-shirt and medal.
2K – medals only.
We’d love it if you could post photos and videos of your runs on social media using hashtag #StDavidsDayRun and we’ll share as many as we can. You can also email your videos and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org
So start digging out those daffodil hats and Welsh jerseys because their favourites will win a St David’s Day Run hoody.
For more details, go HERE.
Pontypridd Mayor’s Charity Concert
Pontypridd Museum is celebrating St David’s Day with an evening of music, song and light refreshments. The Mayor’s Charity Concert is taking place on the day itself, Wednesday, March 1st.
The event is free, but please note tickets are required and can be reserved online, by phone or by calling into the museum.
Donations to the Mayor’s charities are welcomed.
Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start.
For more information and to reserve tickets just Email email@example.com You can also phone 01443 490740 or call into the museum.
National St David’s Day Parade: Cardiff
No word or date as yet but when the parade does take place it’s an opportunity for those who live in Wales, regardless of age, ethnic or social background, to join a dignified and imaginative celebration of Welsh heritage and culture. It’s definitely a wrap up warm, grab your camera and take the family along sort of event, as you can see from 2019 – HERE.
This non-military parade is an opportunity for those who live in Wales, regardless of age, ethnic or social background, to join a dignified and imaginative celebration of Welsh heritage and culture. This year we aim to meet at 12.00 in King Edward VII Avenue, between Cardiff City Hall and the Law Courts.
For details and registration forms, go HERE.
Carmarthen St David’s Day Celebrations
Every year the Town Council organises activities and entertainment to celebrate St David’s Day.
The event is staged in partnership with local schools and with support from Carmarthenshire County Council and Menter Gorllewin Sir Gar. In a typical year the event will include choral works, recitations, clog dancing and harp recitals.
In addition, entertainers on stilts roam the streets. A particular feature of the day is the transmission of the Good Will Message from the children of Wales to the world, as the message passes through Carmarthen on its way to Cardiff.
For details, go HERE.
St David’s Day at Bala Lake Railway
Celebrate St David’s Day with a free ride on the Bala Lake Railway to all residents of North Wales (just bring proof of address). But we are SOUTH WALES LIFE so if you’re planning a visit and you don’t live in North Wales you can still travel for a fee.
St David’s Day at Bala Lake Railway is on Sunday 26th February. For more details on this beautiful stretch of track, go here. RAILWAY
Croeso is a two-day festival celebrating all things Welsh held in Swansea’s city centre on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th February. This year’s event will feature the best of local Welsh culture including…….
- Food and drink
- Cookery demonstrations
- Live music
- Street entertainers
- Art and crafts
- St David’s Parade
- Children’s activities
Head to Castle Square to hear the wonderful sounds of Welsh music before moving to Oxford Street where you can sample the best of Welsh food, drink, and handcrafted goods. Don’t miss the cooking demonstrations and craft workshops.
Immerse yourself in the Welsh language, with music, poetry, and live entertainment you’ll find plenty of Welsh culture to enjoy at Croeso. Be sure to say ‘Shwmae!’ (Hello!) to the friendly folk. They’ll be offering a warm Welsh welcome to everyone, and plenty of help for those learning (or considering) Welsh.
For more details on Croeso Swansea, just go here. CROESO
Smilesy’s Presents – Vol. 3 St David’s Day Special
Smilesy’s are back again with a huge event to celebrate St. David’s day, Friday 3rd March 8pm – 4am at Vibez Superclub Newport Room 2. Another heavy lineup bringing the energy and selectors for your weekend. Expect to hear the finest selections of tech, house, funk, electronica, minimal and garage.
The part is at Vibez Superclub 11-15 Cambrian Road in Newport. Tickets are £5, you can purchase these via the link or get in contact them direct – HERE.
They are buzzing for this one, see you at the front for a party only the Welsh can throw.
St David’s Day Walk
Join Chris Jones for a guided bilingual walk around the Ogmore By Sea, Southerndown & St Brides Major areas in the Vale of Glamorgan to celebrate our patron saint’s day! A chance to walk, to meet people and to enjoy this wonderful area, with a Welsh breakfast, visits, Welsh food and drink, music from the Welsh harp and a few surprises! All on St David’s Day!
The guided walk around Ogmore By Sea to celebrate St David’s day is on Wednesday 1st March from 9:30am and costs £20. For more details, and to book, go HERE.
St David’s Day – The Welsh Guards Charity
The Welsh Guards Association has very kindly been invited to celebrate St David’s Day on Wednesday 1st March with the Battalion in Combermere Barracks, Windsor, (St Leonards Road, SL4 3DN) this year. Major General Christopher Ghika, The Major General Commanding The Household Division and London District, will present the Leeks.
There should be around 340 Battalion personnel present. Number 2 Company will be on Op RED STRIKE in Jamaica. The Regimental Band will, as always, be attending.
Format of the Day
For a number of reasons, the format of the day has been changed, although of course including the traditional elements. Amongst other things, the emphasis has been to be a little more inclusive of the Guardsmen on the day and this includes a rugby match between Lance Corporals and Guardsmen.
The programme is as follows
1100 – 1120 Drumhead Service on the main square
1120 – 1200 Presentation of Leeks and parade
1200 – 1330 All Ranks/Guests Curry buffet lunch in Gym/Marquee – tickets required
1330 – Depart for Rugby Match. The Battalion are walking, but a coach being laid on for Club and Association members. Those not wishing to attend can remain with refreshments in the Gym/Marquee. Match being played at the Garrison Sports Ground, Kings Road, SL4 2BD
1400 – Solo Cup – Gdsm v L/Cpls Rugby Match (the pitch is about a mile from the barracks)
1600 – 1830 Entertainment (Band and other details tbc) Gym/Marquee.
1900 Retire to Messes (with Officers being invited to the Sgts’ Mess at 2000).
We realise this is out of Wales, but nevertheless and important occasion to celebrate. For details, go HERE.
VISIT A CASTLE
St David’s Day is the perfect time to visit one of our many castles. It would be ridiculous for us to list every single one of the 400 plus Welsh Castles, so what we thought we’d do is pick a couple at random with the hope of inspiring you. Visit Wales have so many more fantastic Castles featured.
White Castle, Monmouthshire
Named after its original white-rendered walls, White Castle is one of three fortresses – Grosmont and Skenfrith are the others – built by Norman lords in the Monnow Valley to guard the borderlands. Although it was already derelict by the 1600s, White Castle is easily the best preserved of the trio – with the bonus of a rural Monmouthshire setting.
Skenfrith Castle, Monmouthshire
Time travel fans need to visit Skenfrith – the Norman castle once played host to an episode of Doctor Who. See why this circular keep, constructed in the Monnow Valley as one of three neighbouring castles resulting from the Norman conquest of South Wales, is a repeated favourite of television crews.
Castell Coch, Cardiff
Castell Coch is a castle on top of a castle. It was originally a chieftain’s fortress in the 13th century, but was resurrected as a gothic fortress several centuries later. It is now notable for its extraordinary complex of lavish chambers, making it a repeated favourite with film and television crews.
The magnificent medieval Laugharne Castle is forever associated with Dylan Thomas, who escaped writer’s block at the 12th century ruins. Discover his inspiration within the Victorian ornamental gardens, and relax near the Boathouse and Shed where poetry was once in motion.
Raglan Castle’s striking round towers make this fortress a singular classic, and there’s every chance you’ll be enraptured from the moment you see the astonishing gatehouse which once denied Oliver Cromwell at the end of the Civil War. Surrounded by fields, the romantic ruins even make space for a bowling green.
The largest castle in Wales, and the second-largest in Britain, Caerphilly Castle was locked within water defences when it was built by the English during the 13th century. The outside is the place, among an array of delights, to see four siege engines, and the inside has a hallowed, majestic feel.
We’ve kept this traditional and easy to follow. Visit Wales have got some great recipe videos and the results are delicious.
For the recipe go here. WELSH CAKES
Cawl is traditionally a hearty dish made of meat and any vegetables available. There are many recipes often handed down through the family and vary from town to town throughout Wales.
TO get the recipe, go here. CAWL
Delicious when spread with salted butter, Bara Brith is a rich fruit loaf made with tea. Here’s our recipe for this traditional Welsh tea-time treat.
This is not the real traditional recipe for Bara Brith but this recipe is used all over Wales and makes a beautifully moist cake as the dried fruit are soaked overnight in tea. It’s best stored for a couple of days before eating, allowing the flavours to develop.
Serves 8-10 slices | Prep 15 minutes | Cook 1 hour
400g mixed fruit (e.g. sultanas, raisins, currants)
300ml strong hot tea
250g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
100g dark brown muscovado sugar
1 free range egg, beaten
honey to glaze
- Put the dried fruit in a bowl and pour over the tea, mix in the sugar and stir well to dissolve. Leave to soak for at least 6 hours or overnight.
- Next day, sift the flour and spice into the soaked fruit (no need to drain the tea) and stir in the egg. Blend well together.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C /Gas 4. Line a 900g loaf tin with baking/parchment paper and pour in the mixture.
- Bake for approximately 1 hour until the cake has risen and cooked through. Leave to cool on a rack and store for 2 days before eating. Serve sliced with butter.
- This mixture can be doubled to make 2 loaves and will keep for up to 7 days.
- Warm a little honey to drizzle over the surface of the warm cake for a glazed topping.
ROAST LEG OF WELSH LAMB
Cook potatoes in the tin around the roast and make a gravy using the juices. The only other thing you need is some fresh veg for a fantastic Sunday lunch with the absolute minimum of fuss.
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- fresh rosemary sprigs
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 (2 to 3kg) whole leg of lamb
Prep:10 min › Cook:1hr 20min › Ready in:1hr 30min
- Cut slits in the top of the leg of lamb every few inches, deep enough to push slices of garlic down into the meat. Salt and pepper generously all over the top of lamb, place several sprigs of fresh rosemary under and on top of the lamb.
- Roast at 180 C / Gas mark 4, until the lamb is cooked to medium well. Do not overcook; the flavour is best if meat is still slightly pink.
As a rule, roast a leg of lamb for 15 minutes per 500g (1 1/4 lb), plus 10 minutes more. Allow it to rest for a good 15 minutes before serving to ensure the juices redistribute, making a perfect roast.
Pushing sliced garlic into a leg of lamb can be time consuming. Make this recipe even easier by chopping the garlic and sprinkling it over the lamb along with the rosemary leaves, salt and pepper.
TO DO AT HOME
Things To Colour In
We can’t predict the weather but let’s be honest, we all love a bit of colouring in, especially if we’re ‘helping the kids.’ Download a selection of Wales related things to colour in, there’s also a map and a game to enjoy. The link is at the foot of the page.
Pin The Tail On The Dragon.
Print a Welsh Dragon on cardboard with the tail area visible. Then cut off the pointed tail area. Each player must cut out a circle from white card and colour it in appropriately. Stick some blue-tack to the back of each tail and write each players name on their tail. Each player is to be blindfolded before they take their turn at attempting to pin the tail on the dragon.
Here’s one the kids can colour in before playing the game.
Colour & Fill In The Map
And no cheating – put the phone down……..