Tuesday, March 1, 2016

St. David's Day: National Day Of Wales

Why is a Welsh national flag flying from our house today?

March 1 is celebrated in much of the Christian world in the west as St. David's Day. He was born in Wales in the 6th century, attained sainthood in the 12th century, and today is recognized as the patron saint of Wales. Dewi San (St. David) died on this day in 569 and was buried in the cathedral bearing his name in Pembrokeshire. The day is also celebrated as the National Day throughout the country.

Welsh national flag created in the 15th century

Although German traditions remain strong in my family, I'm equally proud to say that I have Welsh ancestors thanks to the bloodline introduced by my grandmother's parents who immigrated to the United States from Cardiff, Wales, in the early 1870's. Although I don't remember my grandmother - she died before my second birthday - my father always reminded me of her Celtic pride and Welsh ancestry expressed especially in a love for song and singing. 

Wales is a small, ancient country located southwest of England between the Bristol Channel and the Irish Sea south of the Isle of Man. The nation has a rich cultural heritage beginning with Celtic peoples in the early Iron Age. Its isolation has left them with strong genetic identifiers as the "last of the 'true' Britons." There are only 3 million people living in Wales today. Historically, the population was never large but there was a limited diaspora beginning two centuries ago particularly with the Industrial Revolution and its need for coal. Only half of one percent of Americans claim Welsh ancestry. I'm pleased to be among them.


Photos and Illustrations:
Welsh flag, public domain image, Open Clipart Library


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