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Mwynhewch y gorau o Gymru - Enjoy the very best of Wales!

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28 Feb

Why are the Leek and the Daffodil the Symbols of Wales? Six Fun Facts for St. David's Day

Posted by Becca Hemmings

Ever wondered why we wear leeks or daffodils on St. David's Day? Here are six fun facts.

Silver Leek Brooch

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!


welsh daffodil brooch

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.

So wear your leek or daffodil with pride this St. David's Day, and now you know the story behind our emblems!


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