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352. THE WELSH NATIONAL EMBLEM - The daffodil (or narcissus) | by fleetingglances
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352. THE WELSH NATIONAL EMBLEM - The daffodil (or narcissus)

On March 1st in Wales we celebrate our Patron Saint - St David (or Dewi Sant as it is written in Welsh).

 

Just a little bit of history :-

 

Saint David, or Dewi Sant, as he is known in the Welsh language, is the patron saint of Wales. He was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop, who lived in the sixth century. During his life, he was the archbishop of Wales, and he was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain.

 

Dewi died in the sixth century, so nearly five hundred years elapsed between his death and the first manuscripts recording his life. As a result, it isn't clear how much of the history of Dewi's life is legend rather than fact.

 

However we can be relatively certain, that Dewi was a very gentle person who lived a frugal life. It is claimed that he ate mostly bread and herbs - probably watercress, which was widely used at the time. Despite this supposedly meagre diet, it is reported that he was tall and physically strong.

 

Dewi is sometimes known, in Welsh, as 'Dewi Ddyfrwr' (David the Water Drinker) and, indeed, water was an important part of his life - he is said to have drunk nothing else. Sometimes, as a self-imposed penance, he would stand up to his neck in a lake of cold water, reciting Scripture. Little wonder, then, that some authors have seen Dewi as an early Puritan!

 

It is claimed that Dewi lived for over 100 years, and it is generally accepted that he died in 589. His last words to his followers were in a sermon on the previous Sunday. Rhigyfarch transcribes these as 'Be joyful, and keep your faith and your creed. Do the little things that you have seen me do and heard about. I will walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.' 'Do the little things' ('Gwnewch y pethau bychain') is today a very well-known phrase in Welsh, and has proved an inspiration to many.

 

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Taken on March 4, 2010