Saint David's Day
Saint David's Day is the celebration of the Feast of Saint David on March 1. When Saint David was recognized as the national Patron Saint of Wales in the 12th century, the festival was celebrated at the peak of Welsh resistance against the Normans. In the 16th century, massive counter celebrations would be sparked during the fest ivies if any Welsh celebrated Saint David's Day in London and by the 18th century "taffies" were being made for the celebration - gingerbread cookies baked in the shape of a Welshman riding a goat.
Unlike Saint Patrick's Day in Ireland, Saint David's Day is not celebrated as a national holiday inside of Wales. Schools often take half-days however for the celebration and the National Assembly for Wales voted unanimously to make Saint David's Day a public holiday in 2000. A petition to make the day a Bank Holiday in 2007 was rejected under British Prime Minister Tony Blair despite national poles in Wales showing 87% support and another 65% of those polled willing to sacrifice a different bank holiday.
Traditionally, children take part in school concerts called eisteddfodau, singing different songs and reciting Welsh stories and poems. Young girls often wear a traditional Welsh outfit consisting of a long woolen skirt, white blouse, woolen shawl and Welsh hat. Popular dishes include cawl (soup), bara brith (tea loaf), Welsh cakes, Welsh lamb and Welsh rarebit. Yellow daffodils, the national flower of Wales, are traditionally worn on Saint David's Day. Cardiff hosts a massive parade throughout the town each Saint David's Day. In many smaller towns the parades are also held, in addition to concerts and fairs. A Saint David's Week festival is held in Swansea each year with cultural and music events to celebrate.
Celebrations are also held outside of Wales - Disneyland Paris has a Welsh-themed week that includes fireworks, parades and Disney characters dressed in Welsh attire. The Saint David's Day festival in Los Angeles is the largest celebration in the United States with a Celtic marketplace, classes, concerts and a eisteddfod (a Welsh festival with concerts and readings).