While most people know about St. Patrick’s Day, Welsh Manitobans are preparing to celebrate St. David’s Day.
St. David is the patron saint of Wales, a country in southwest Great Britain with a distinctive language and culture.
“St. David was born approximately 500 AD and he was born in Wales and lived in Wales and incidentally, I should mention, St. Patrick was born in Wales too,” said Carol Sharp, the incoming president of the Welsh Society of Manitoba.
“He was a very holy man and very, very highly respected.”
St. David’s Day falls on March 1, the day the saint died, but the celebrations are happening on Saturday at the Masonic Temple on Corydon Avenue.
The Welsh history of Winnipeg is rich and long, according to the Welsh Society of Manitoba. There were many Welsh choirs, a newspaper and a Welsh church established in 1896.
While the Welsh are Celtic, the celebration for St. David doesn’t include tinted beer or shamrocks. People celebrate St. David’s day by wearing a daffodil, the national symbol of Wales, or a leek, the saint’s personal symbol.
People also get together for dance, folk songs and poems.
“There is a saying, ‘The privilege of a Welsh person is to be born with a song in his heart and poetry in his soul rather than worldly wealth,'” Sharp said.
She was born in Wales but her family moved when she was 10. However, it has always remained an important part of her identity.
“I’ve always tried to involve myself in the Welsh community and for me it’s extremely important to keep in touch with my roots which I identify very strongly with,” she said.
Huw Eirug was born and raised in Wales but now lives in Gimli.
“The best part [of St. David’s Day] was we had the day off school,” he said with a laugh.
Each school would hold an eisteddfod, a competition of music, song and poetry. Eirug said he is still very proud of the Welsh language and culture, particularly coming from such a small geographic area.
“It encompasses so many different…