Thursday, 6 March 2014

Dragons and Daffodils for St David's Day

A new month, a new Birth Month Flower – the Daffodil! 

And for once it seems just right – when I think of daffodils, I always think of March, although I took this photo in my garden way back in the middle of February!

But the Daffodil is very appropriate for March for another reason as well. 

March 1st is the Feast of St David, the patron saint of Wales and the Daffodil is  one of the national emblems of Wales. So it all slots together rather nicely.

I get the impression that St David’s Day is celebrated more enthusiastically in communities around the world that have a Welsh connection than it is here in Wales. The Los Angeles festivities certainly outdo anything I’ve come across here in Wales.

Here's what I spotted in the window of one of our charity shops -

And this is how St David's Day is celebrated in Los Angeles -

You can get more details

But I can only really speak for Abergavenny, which is so near the border with England that it’s full of English people like me. 

And even here the younger schoolchildren wear the traditional Welsh costume to school on March 1st. Tesco had the outfits and other Welsh paraphernalia on sale well before Valentine’s day!

I’ve been working on a pattern of Welsh national emblems for my Posh and Painterly Cymru store. The daffodil, the leek, the harp and the dragon, as well as the little girl in Welsh dress.

I couldn’t help giving the dragon a bit of a cheeky expression and I hope this won’t be regarded as an irreverent depiction of one of the main Welsh symbols! I think I’m influenced by the fact that on the whole the Welsh have an enviable sense of humour!

I noticed it almost as soon as I moved here in 2002. I went to concert given by a Male Voice Choir – South Wales, especially the area known as 'The Valleys', is famous for its choirs. It was quite a solemn affair and some of the singing was extremely moving. 

So it took me aback somewhat when the interval arrived and the conductor of the choir morphed seamlessly into a hilarious stand-up comedian!

Around the same time, I heard on the BBC Wales news that the number of prescriptions for anti-depressants in Wales far exceeds that of the rest of the UK, per head of population. And suicide rates are also higher. So maybe that sense of humour hides a darker side to the Welsh personality.

But surely the daffodils are an antidote to the gloom! 

It has certainly been one of the gloomiest winters I can remember even though I haven’t been much affected by the weather at first hand. It has been relatively mild, though I’ve worn a raincoat far more often than usual. 

But so many people have been far less lucky. Power cuts have been widespread and lengthy, some lasting throughout the Christmas period. A great many homes and businesses have been flooded, trees have been uprooted by the gales, causing fatalities and damage that will cost millions to repair.  

And it just seems to have gone on and on. 

So this year, more than any, I think, the daffodils will be welcomed wherever and whenever they appear!

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