Happy St David’s Day – Hapus Dydd Gywl Ddewi

1 March 2014

Hapus Dydd Gywl Ddewi….. St David (or Dewi) is the patron saint of Wales. Although little is known about his life, he was said to have been the son of a prince or chieftain of Cardigan – the place, not the item of clothing – and to have founded several Welsh monasteries. So little is known, his date of death varies from 544, 589 or 601.

There are various customs associated with St David’s Day including wearing national symbols of Wales – a leek (in a hatband) or a daffodil (in a buttonhole). The daffodil is the modern preference for obvious reasons….. Many male voice choirs will be giving concerts today and traditional dishes of cawl (broth and meat) and bara brith (‘speckled bread’) will be eaten.

A quick search of the GRO birth indexes on FreeBMD returns four individuals called ‘St David’, most, if not all, are probably born on St David’s Day, I would imagine…. though some will have been registered a few weeks after their birth and therefore included in the June quarter:

St David Gynlais WALTERS b. Neath RD, June quarter 1856

St Davids Edward B. WILLIAMS b. Carnarvon RD, March quarter 1869

St David JONES b. Wirral RD, March quarter 1892

St David Rees JONES b. Pontypridd RD, June quarter 1906

I wonder if their classmates called them St David, or just David, or Dewi?

The less well-known but no less traditional festival of Whuppity Scoorie also takes place on 1 March each year. In the Royal Burgh of Lanark, Scotland, local children gather around the local St Nicholas kirk where at 6pm the bell is rung. This is the sign for the children to start running around the church in a clockwise direction, making noise and swinging paper balls on strings above their heads as they run. After three laps, they scramble for coins thrown by members of the Community Council who host the event.

The wonders of modern society and our concerns about health and safety, mean that this is no longer a race – heaven help them if they were sued for injury ….

Sadly, there are no individuals in the England and Wales GRO indexes with Whuppity as a forename or surname, perhaps fortunately….

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