Why are the Leek and the Daffodil the Symbols of Wales? Six Fun Facts for St. David's Day
Ever wondered why we wear leeks or daffodils on St. David's Day? Here are six fun facts.
1. Because Leeks Win Battles
It all started with the leek. This was the original symbol of Wales and, as legend has it, originated from a great battle against the Saxons. St. David (or some sources say The C7th king of Gwynedd, Cadwaladr) advised the Welsh to wear leeks in their hats to show which side they were on. It must have worked well, as the battle was won!
2. Because Shakespeare Said So
The leek is mentioned as the symbol of Wales as early as William Shakespeare’s Henry V. There is additional evidence that shows Tudor guards wore leeks in their hats on 1st March to honour our patron saint.
3. Because Yum
We also grow lots of leeks - and they taste lovely (perfect in cawl!) Not sure about eating them raw, which is what soldiers of the Welsh regiments traditionally eat every St. David's Day!
4. Because Daffodil Smaffodil
But what about the daffodil? This may have been an accident! The Welsh for leek is Cenhinen, which can be easily confused with the Welsh for daffodil, Cenhinen Pedr, which translates to "Peter's Leek". Eventually, as late as the C19th, it became the second symbol of Wales.
5. Because the Prime Minister Said So
David Lloyd George (the only Welsh Prime Minister from 1916-22) was said to be an advocate for them, as their beautiful bloom would often coincide with St. David's Day.
6. Because Daffodils are used for Drugs
Another interesting link is that daffodils are grown in Wales to produce galantamine, a drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.