Every year people from across Wales come together to celebrate their patron saint – St David – on their national day.
St David’s day takes place on the anniversary of the saint’s reported death, 1 March, which falls on a Wednesday this year.
Here’s how to brighten up the day of anyone you encounter from Wales on the date by delivering a traditional St David’s Day greeting.
How to say ‘Happy St David’s Day’ in Welsh
St David’s Day offers you a golden opportunity to greet any friends, family and colleagues from Wales in their native tongue.
In the Welsh language, “Happy St David’s Day” translates as “Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus”.
If Welsh pronunciation isn’t your strong point, a rough phonetic translation of the phrase would be: “deethe goil Dewi hapeece”.
How is St David’s Day celebrated?
St David’s Day has been celebrated regularly since he was canonised by Pope Callixtus II in the 12th century, with various customs developing.
It is not a public holiday, but towns often hold parades, with major events in Cardiff and Swansea.
Customs include wearing daffodils and leeks – two of the most recognisable symbols of Wales – and eating traditional dishes such as Welsh rarebit.
Who was St David?
Like many early Christian saints, verifiable historical facts about David can he hard to come by. Much of his life story is based on the Buchedd Dewi (Life of David) written by the scholar Rhigyfarch at the end of the 11th century.
St David is thought to have been born around 500 AD in Pembrokeshire on the west coast of Wales. Non, the woman believed to be his mother, was also a saint. He was trained as a priest under the tutelage of St Paulinus.
Various miracles are attributed to St David, including restoring the sight of his teacher and, most famously, creating an entirely new hill (now the village of Llanddewi Brefi) during an outdoor sermon.
He was named the Archbishop of Wales at the Synod of Brefi church council in 550, but remained in the settlement of Menevia – later named St Davids in his honour – where he had set up a large monastery which is now St David’s Cathedral.
We don’t know exactly when he died, but 1 March became the accepted date, with the year most commonly estimated at 589AD.
His body was buried at St David’s Cathedral, which became a prestigious site of pilgrimage in the middle ages.