Category: Wales

The Welsh sing for St David

Wales is a special place – and never more so than each March.

St David’s Day, which is held on March 1 each year, is the perfect time to visit this wonderful part of the planet. Celebrations go as far back as the 12th century.

Special events are held to commemorate the death of the 6th Century priest who went on to become the patron saint of Wales.

Parades are held in a number of towns and cities and many schools hold a day of celebrations, including musical performances and poetry recitals.

Wales holds a special place in our hearts – and it is impossible not to fall in love with the rugged Welsh coastline; distinctive language of its delightful people; and the strong and enduring Celtic culture.

We’ve spent time in northern and central Wales; in the vibrant capital city of Cardiff; and on the amazing Gower peninsula that is not only a highlight of the country’s south, but is also one of the great scenic treasures of Great Britain itself.SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

If you haven’t walked in the green countryside and mountainous national parks of Wales – or stood in awe of its hauntingly beautiful coastal bays, we highly recommend a visit to this incredible part of the planet.

The culture and mysticism of the Welsh are traits to be envied and, despite the fast-pace and 24-hour-seven-day nature of modern life, these people will, on March 1, be out in force marking the death of the priest they call Dewi Sant way back in about 569 AD.IMG_0284

The leek, which is the national symbol of Wales, is often worn on Saint Davids Day

According to legend, when St. David was leading his people to victory against the Saxons, he commanded them to wear leeks in their hats to avoid being confused with the enemy.

In Wales people, particularly children, wear traditional Welsh costume on Saint David’s Day.

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Photo courtesy express.uk.com

Girls wear a petticoat and overcoat, made of Welsh flannel, and a tall hat, worn over a frilled bonnet.

Boys wear a white shirt, a Welsh flannel waistcoat, black trousers, long wool socks and black shoes. The outfits originated during the 18th and 19th centuries.

Children in Wales enjoy traditional Welsh dances, sing Welsh folk songs, recite Welsh poems, and take part in school concerts or eisteddfodau.

Alongside the red dragon on green and white, St David’s flags – with a yellow cross on a black background – are unfurled in public to help mark the occasion.

Traditional Welsh food such tea loaf, Welsh cakes or crampon pancakes are popular on St David’s Day.

Many sites of Welsh national heritage also open to the public.

Love spoons: what do they mean?

We have close ties with Wales.

But it’s a lot more than just family links that keep bringing us back to this wonderful part of the planet.

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We have been fortunate to travel the length and breadth of Wales – and each time we have new experiences, find different attractions and explore ever more memorable destinations.

It’s far more than just the intriguing history, the warmth of the people and the intense pride in their heritage.

As we found on our most recent visit to the remarkable Gower area of southern Wales – with its standing stones and other monolithic structures – there is also deep and important local belief in folklore and Celtic mysticism.

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Beauty and history merge at Gower

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One particular Welsh tradition has spread world-wide.

‘Love Spoons’ are carved from wood, contain special decorations and were traditionally used as a gift of intent.

In much the same way that today’s young men might bring gifts of flowers, chocolates or even jewellery to their beloved, ‘Love Spoons’ were traditionally used by a suitor to show a girl’s father that the would-be husband was capable of providing.

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There are similar traditions in Scandinavia and some parts of Eastern Europe, but Welsh ‘Love Spoons’ stretch back as far as the 17th Century and were originally used to eat cawl soup, a Welsh stew made from vegetables and lamb.

The earliest known example is in a museum at Cardiff and is from 1667. Later, the spoons became a symbol of romance and had certain symbols with specific meanings: a heart for love; a lock for a promise of security; a horseshoe for good luck; a cross for faith; and bells for marriage.

Creating these spoons is now seen largely as a folk craft, but they adorn the walls of even the most modern  Welsh home or apartment – and there are entire galleries devoted to showing and selling them

Ours draw us closer to family and also bring back memories of this glorious and often-mysterious  lush green land across the seas.

If these traditional spoons catch your fancy, but you are not likely to head for Wales anytime soon, they can also be obtained online.

How to get there

Wales is only a few hours drive or train trip from most of the UK’s big cities. Many international airlines fly direct to and from Cardiff.