Celebrate Gwyl Dewi in Ceredigion

Ceredigion celebrates the patron Saint of Wales in style with parades, food and drink, music and dancing. The official date is March 1st, but celebrations may take place  over a few days to include the weekend. Why not visit some of the beautiful places in Ceredigion associated with Dewi Sant and take the opportunity to practice your Welsh skills.

Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus!

St David's Day parades

Flags, giant puppets, children in traditional Welsh costume - the St David's Day parades are colourful events, and a great community gathering.  

In Aberystwyth, the occasion celebrates local people who have made a significant contribution to Welsh cultural life. It is a huge honour to be invited to be 'Tywysydd' the leader of the parade and to address the gathered crowd. 

The parade in Cardigan usually involves a giant, articulated dragon - a sight to behold as it moves along the High Street from its usual lair at Small World Theatre, to Cardigan Castle at the other end of town. 

Lampeter also has a parade involving the town schoolchildren dressed in costume.

Leek or daffodil?

Shop windows will be decorated with symbols of St David and Wales, cafe tables will have vases of daffodils, front gardens, public parks and even roadside verges will be full of bright yellow daffodils .  Why daffodils?  The Welsh name is cennin Pedr (St Peter's leek).

Visit Llanerchaeron's walled garden to see both daffodils and leeks. 

Cawl, Welshcakes and Bara Brith- blasus!

Like all good, traditional recipes handed down through the generations, Cawl has a multitude of variations, but usually contains meat and a variety of seasonal vegetables in a broth. It's served with a chunk or good cheese and fresh warm bread.

In village halls throughout the county, communities come together to enjoy a hearty meal of cawl.  If there's still room left, there may be a choice of  Welsh cakes,  bara brith, apple pie or rice pudding to follow. 

Cafes throughout the county will have Cawl on the menu - there's nothing better than a warm bowlful after a bracing walk. It is 'blasus' (blah-sis)  - tasty!

Why not have a go at creating your own Cawl. You can  use your own choice of meat (usually lamb or beef) and a combination of of any seasonal root vegetables and leeks, but don't forget to serve it with a good chunk of good Ceredigion cheese and some fresh bread.   

Music and dance 

Aberystwyth Art Centre's St David's Day Concert  is a showcase of local talent, from the world renowned soprano Gwawr Edwards to the young and emerging talent of Aberystwyth Schools Brass Band and Llanilar School Choir who will be joined by the Aberystwyth Silver Band, Sgarmes, Meibion y Mynydd Choir, Triano, Aberystwyth University Wind Band and the Choirs for Good of Aberystwyth & Llanidloes.

Local clubs and other music venues are quite likely to have a Welsh band playing,  and if St David's Day coincides with a Rugby International, there will inevitably be some rousing singing to join in with, whatever the score. 

Folk and clog dancing is being taken up by young people across Wales and they are colourful and popular competitions at the Eisteddfod. 

Did you know that professional clog dancer Tudur Phillips holds a Guinness Word Record - for extinguishing the most candle flames with clog heel jumps?!

Fancy a go at learning how to clog dance?  Free sessions are held at Theatr Arad Goch, where you can also meet Aberystwyth's Town bard and hear tales from a local storyteller. 

Aberystwyth also has regular monthly 'twmpath' folk dancing get-together,  usually monthly throughout the year, but in summer you might catch them dancing at the Bandstand at the prom. You are always welcome to join in and learn the steps.

Welsh costume

Did you know that Ceredigion was an important centre of production of the iconic Welsh hat? 

An entry in The Topographical Dictionary of Wales (1833) stated that  ‘Cardiganshire wool has long been noted for its felting quality, owing to which, and to the cheapness and abundance of peat fuel, the hat manufactories are very numerous: in these are made most of the common hats worn in South Wales, which are strong and durable: the wool of the Michaelmas shearing is the best for this purpose. The above manufactures consume the greater part of the wool produced in the county’

Ceredigion Museum in Aberystwyth has a good collection of Welsh hats produced in the area.

Whist in Aberystwyth, see if you can spot the gargoyle od a woman wearing a Welsh hat on the Univeristy's Old College building... ?

 Visit David's places in Ceredigion

One of St David's most famous miracles took place at the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi, a pretty village in the Ceredigion Cambrian Mountains. Or explore the coast and visit Llanon, named for St David's mother, a princess of Ceredigion or follow in the footsteps of pilgrims  on their way to David's shrine in Pembrokeshire  and stop at Mwnt, a simple whitewashed church overlooking a pretty beach.