Monday, 1 March 2021

Gwnewch y pethau bychain /Do the little things : Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus ! Happy Saint David's Day !


Today as has become traditional, I mark St David's Day/ Dydd  Dewi Sant, on the anniversary of St David’s death in 589AD .
I've written previously in more detail here but the  story goes that David's  mother St Non, or Nonitta was raped by Xanctus or Sanctus, Prince of Ceredigion, and the product  of the violation was David. Non, gave birth to her son  on a clifftop during a wild storm. Today the ruins of St Non's Chapel on the Pembrokeshire coast marks  the spot.
St David is rumoured to have been educated in Cardiganshire before making his way to Jerusalem where he was appointed as Archbishop.
After his pilmgrimages he is said to have settled in Glyn Rhosyn (St David’s) in south-west Wales.Here he established a religious community and the cathedral of St David’s became a popular centre of pilgrimage.
 Much of his life story is based on the Buchedd Dewi (Life of David) written by the scholar Rhigyfarch at the end of the 11th century.
Various miracles are attributed to St David, including restoring the sight of his teacher and, most famously, creating an entirely new hill (now the village of Llanddewi Brefi) during an outdoor sermon.
He became a renowned missionary in Wales and beyond, and is credited with founding monasteries in his homeland, the south-west of England (including Glastonbury) and Brittany.
He was named the Archbishop of Wales at the Synod of Brefi church council in 550, but remained in the settlement of Menevia – later named St Davids in his honour – where he had set up a large monastery which is now St David’s Cathedral.
His body was buried at St David’s Cathedral, which became a prestigious site of pilgrimage in the middle ages.
 The cathedral stands today on the site of St David’s 6th century monastic settlement. The cathedral has had a tumultuous past with invasions, earthquakes, royal visits and refurbishments. It stands today in Pembrokeshire as a mighty symbol of religious pilgrimage and as a remarkable reminder of Welsh heritage.
David was officially recognized as a Catholic saint in 1120 and the day of his death was decreed as a national festival in the 18th century.
To mark St David’s Day people around Wales wear one of the two national emblems – the leek or the daffodil.
Like any folklore, there is much speculation as to why these two objects exist as national emblems.
Records suggest that rulers of the Tudor  dynasty introduced its guards to the wearing of leeks on the national day. One story tells of an ancient king who advised men in battle to wear leeks as they fought against the Saxons to help differentiate between them and the enemy.
The daffodil, however, was more of a seasonal introduction as their spring sprouting coincides with the national day.
There will be no big St David’s Day Celebrations this year, with Wales remaining under lockdown restrictions.Nevertheless. we will celebrate Wales, our people, our language and the unique culture that we all share.
Google`s iconic logo though gets the annual St David’s Day makeover today marking the national celebration of the Welsh patron Saint.
The Google Doodle as it is known is the latest in a long line of designs celebrating St. David’s Day on the search engines website dating back to 2004.
Google says today’s Doodle that shows the traditional Welsh red dragon curled up in some long grass, with a white castle in the background. which is illustrated by Welsh guest artist Elin Manon was inspired by the legend of Dinas Emrys—one of Wales’ most famous historic tales—celebrating St. David’s Day.
 The artwork relates to a Welsh myth about a Celtic king named Vortigen, who accidentally tried to build a castle on a hillside above the lair of two sleeping dragons – one red, one white.
 He awoke the dragons and they fought, with the red one ending victorious. The red dragon has come to be Wales and St David’s most famous symbol, along with the daffodil, which you can see surrounding the dragon in the doodle.
 Google’s doodle website says “Myth has it that in the fifth century, a Celtic king named Vortigen discovered what he thought was the perfect place to build his castle on the Welsh hillside.’
‘However, Myrddin Emrys (Merlin, the wizard) convinced Vortigen that there was a catch—a large fire-breathing one!’
‘The spot he had chosen was directly above the lair of two slumbering dragons; one red, one white. Upon the castle’s construction, the two dragons were found in a fierce battle.”
“The red dragon emerged victorious and returned to rest in his subterranean lair, allowing Vortigen to complete the building  of his fortress once the dust had settled.”
“The red dragon has since become an immortal symbol of the Welsh people and St. David’s Day, along with the daffodil—the yellow flower surrounding it in the Doodle artwork.”
“Although the tale of Dinas Emrys may sound like nothing but fantasy, a 1945 excavation of the site found remains of a fortress dating back to Vortigen’s time.”
“So take caution if you ever plan to venture to the ruins of Dinas Emrys… you may awaken a dragon.”

The doodle takes pride of place on the Google UK front-page until midnight tonight.

St David's last words  to his followers came from a sermon that he gave on the previous Sunday: 'Be joyful, and do the little things that you have heard and seen me do,The phrase “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” or “Do the little things” are considered to be St David's most famous words, and potentially his final ones and are still a well known maxim here in Wales. St David believed that the people of Wales should do the small, considerate things that often make a big difference. During the difficult days of the pandemic, this is exactly what the people of Wales have been doing, making small sacrifices to keep each one another safe. Doing the little things have made our communities stronger in such dark times. 

 In her St  David's Day message the Bishop of St Davids Joanna Penberthy said :

 " And let all of us, in this difficult time, as St David asks, do the little things. Let us keep the faith of kindness, truthfulness, honesty and justice. St David spent his life nurturing his community. As we gradually come out of Covid, let us work together, wanting for everyone else no more and no less than we want for ourselves. Let us make Wales the place where no one is left behind."

In the latest yearly St. David’s Day Poll, support for Welsh independence has risen again with 11% supporting independence in a multi-option question compared to just 7% last year. The dragon awakens.
 Let's do the little things that can lead to big change. A better society that makes a difference every day. We can offer help to those fleeing from persecution of any kind. We are all beneficiaries of the generosity of others in this Country for many of our ancestors were in desperate need of shelter, safety or simply wanting a better life, and though we may walk different paths and hail from different  beginnings you cannot break the bond  that is our shared national identity. On May 6th. Vote for Wales. Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Happy St David's Day everyone!

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