British Billy celebrates St. David's Day, March 1
By British Billy, 48th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published February 29, 2012
ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- (Editor's Note: This is the first in a four part series Billy will write about the patron saints of Great Britain)
I know to be considered a saint, you must possess many noble qualities, commit fearless deeds and have at least one miracle to your name. I have many attributes, but I doubt saintliness will ever be one of them. However, even without me, Britain has more than enough saints to help her along.
Most of my American friends are very familiar with St. Patrick's Day and all its associated fun and festivities, but few are aware that England, Scotland and Wales also each have their own national day named after their very own patron saints. St. David is the patron saint of Wales, St. Andrew of Scotland , St. Patrick of Ireland, and St. George is the patron saint of England. Their stories are full of myths, complexities and contradictions. However, there is much national pride invested in each particular patron saint, in the traditions associated with their special day and the lessons learned from their lives.
David is the only saint of the four born in the country he represents, and on March 1, Welsh people across the globe celebrate St. David's Day.
St. David, or Dewi Sant as he is called in the Welsh language, was a Celtic monk, abbot and bishop who lived in the 6th century. He was one of many early saints who helped to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Britain.
Many Welsh people wear one or both of the national emblems of Wales on their lapel on this day to celebrate: the daffodil (a generic Welsh symbol which is in season during March) or the leek (St. David's personal symbol). The other Welsh symbol, Y Ddraig Goch (the Red Dragon, Wales' national flag), will be flown on many more buildings than usual.
Renowned worldwide for their singing and their rugby, as well as the beautiful landscape of their country, the Welsh are fervently patriotic on their national day. There are a few proud Welsh men and women working at RAF Lakenheath, and I hope you will take the opportunity to greet them on their very own saint's day.
Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!**
** "Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus!" means "Happy St. David's Day" in Welsh, but you had better get a Welshman to pronounce it for you. Welsh is a fascinating language, but with a few extra vowels.