Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United Kingdom   St. David's Day
Flag for United Kingdom

St. David's Day in the United Kingdom

People in Wales and those of Welsh origin celebrate the life of their patron saint, St David, and the Welsh culture on March 1 each year. Many people pin a daffodil or leek to their clothes and some, especially children, wear traditional costumes.

Is St. David's Day a Public Holiday?

St. David's Day is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Wild Daffodils

Daffodils are sometimes pinned on clothes on St David's Day.

©iStockphoto.com/pixonaut

What Do People Do?

St David is the patron saint of Wales. March 1 is a day of celebration of both St David’s life and of the Welsh culture in Wales and in countries such as Canada and the United States. Many people attend special church services, parades, choral recitals or Welsh literature readings. Schools plan celebrations, often involving choirs, on the day.

The Welsh flag, a red dragon on a white and green background, is displayed prominently and a festive mood prevails. Children, particularly girls, and some adults wear traditional costume. Other people may pin a daffodil or a leek to their clothes as these are symbols of Wales. The traditional meal on St David's Day is cawl. This is a soup that is made of leek and other locally grown produce.

Public Life

St David's Day is not a public holiday in the United Kingdom or countries such as Canada and the United States. Therefore government offices, schools, post offices and businesses are open.

However, it is a day of celebration so many schools, institutions and even businesses will have a special program for the day. Some villages and towns hold special parades so there may be some local disruption to traffic or public transport.

Background

St David plays a very important role in Welsh culture but little is known about his life. It is believed that he lived to be 100 years old and that he died in 589, but the first texts on his life only appeared around five hundred years after his death. This means that it is difficult to tell which aspects of the St David’s story are true and which are legend. He was supposed to have been very gentle and physically strong and tall despite eating a frugal diet. His parents were Sant, the grandson of a prince of Ceredigion in south-west Wales, and Non, a niece of the legendary King Arthur.

St David travelled widely throughout Wales, Cornwall in the south-west of England, Brittany in France and possibly to Ireland and Jerusalem.  He founded several churches and a monastery in Wales and eventually became an archbishop. St David was canonized in 1120 and March 1 was included in the church calendar as St David's Day. People started making pilgrimages to St David’s monastery after he was canonized. A cathedral still stands on its original site.

Symbols

The Welsh flag, which features a red dragon on a white and green background, is often seen around the date of St David’s Day. Many people also pin a daffodil or a leek to their clothes as symbols of Wales.

St. David's Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015SunMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2016TueMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2017WedMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2018ThuMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2019FriMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2020SunMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2021MonMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2022TueMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2023WedMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2024FriMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales
2025SatMar 1St. David's DayObservanceWales

You might also like

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

All of December, this comet will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Find the comet on our interactive night sky map and see when and where you can see it. more

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is the day before Christmas Day. It is not a public holiday in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. more

Christmas Day

Christmas Day

Christmas Day is a holiday that traditionally celebrates Jesus Christ's birth. It is on December 25 in the United Kingdom. more

Boxing Day

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is a holiday in the United Kingdom that falls on December 26 each year. more