March 1st is St David’s Day

February 27, 2023

Since the 12th Century, Saint David (Dewi Sant) has been celebrated as the Patron Saint of Wales. Today the celebrations usually involve the singing of traditional songs followed by a Te Bach, a tea with bara brith (famous welsh fruited bread) and teisen bach (welsh cake). Young girls are encouraged to wear the national costume and leeks or daffodils, the national symbols of Wales, are worn.

St David descended from royalty. As a missionary, he travelled throughout Wales and Britain and even made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem where he was consecrated bishop. He founded 12 monasteries including Glastonbury and one at Minevia (St. Davids) which he made his bishops seat. The monastery he founded at Menevia in Southwestern Wales was noted for extreme asceticism. David and his monks drank neither wine nor beer – only water – while putting in a full day of heavy manual labor and intense study.

Monastery life was very strict, the brothers having to work very hard, cultivating the land and pulling the plough. Many crafts were followed – beekeeping, in particular, was very important. The monks had to keep themselves fed as well as provide food and lodging for travellers. They also looked after the poor.

St David died on 1 March 589 A.D., at Minevia, allegedly over 100 years old. His remains were buried in a shrine in the 6th century cathedral which was ransacked in the 11th century by Viking invaders, who plundered the site and murdered two Welsh bishops.

In 1120, Pope Callactus II canonised David as a Saint. Following this he was declared Patron Saint of Wales.

Source: St David – Patron Saint of Wales — by Ben Johnson, Catholic Online

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