March 1st is St David’s Day
Dydd Dewi Sant Hapus Iawn
Happy St David’s Day
Because it happened to fall on a Saturday this year…….. schoolchildren all over Wales celebrated the special day a day early, though that will not prevent their celebrating all over again tomorrow. Most schools devote the day to mini Eisteddfodau, where children preform songs, both choral and solo,recitations and dramas.
One of the great things about being brought up in Wales is the traditional emphasis placed on culture and public performance which stands children in good stead for the future.
Most children wear Welsh costume for the special day (and this year they get two days).
Girls wear check skirts, red jackets , white blouses, red or check shawls, frilly white mop caps all topped off with either tall black hats or the prettier ‘cockle’ hats.
Legend tells that on one occasion this ‘uniform’ saved Wales from invasion from the French under the leadership of Napoleon Bonaparte .
With too few soldiers to defend against an invasion by sea at Abergwaun (Fishguard), the local women moved swiftly up and down and around a hill, giving the French the impression that the area was heavily guarded, so like the redcoats uniforms did the ladies’ costumes appear. The raiders took both fright and flight, fearing a massive army had arrived to quell them, and the instigator of the women’s rebellion, Jemima Nicholas has been a heroine in Wales ever since. She was known as Jemima Fawr (Jemima the Great), and I know of at least one school where her story was acted out as a drama today.
Towns and cities throughout Wales will be the brighter tomorrow when everyone will head for town in their Welsh costumes to show off!
When I was a child, little boys wore tweed jackets and voluminous caps, but these have gone out of fashion and most little boys (and some girls too), now sport Welsh rugby shirts as their contribution to a happy and colourful day.
Of course everyone also sports either a daffodil or a leek.
Let’s hope the sun shines on them all!