Friday, 19 February 2016

St David's Day and Wales - The Facts

With St. David's Day approaching on March 1st, here's a little insight to the Welsh holiday and few fun facts regarding all things Welsh.

What is St David's Day?

St David's Day or its official name "Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant" takes place every year on March 1st and celebrates the life of the Welsh Patron Saint: St David. In Wales many people celebrate by pinning a daffodil or a leek to their clothes and some children dress up in traditional Welsh outfits. St. David's Day parades also take place on St David's Day with the largest taking place in Cardiff.

A few interesting things about Wales

1. St Patrick born in Wales

It is believed by many scholars that the patron saint of Ireland was actually born in Wales whilst under the Roman Empire. Some historians argue that St Patrick was born in the small city of St. Davids in Pembrokeshire. However St Patrick's birthplace is disputed in historical circles,

2. Wales has the longest one word place name in Europe.

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch is an actual place name in Wales, it's english translation is St Mary’s Church In The Hollow Of The White Hazel Near To The Rapid Whirlpool Of Llantysilio Of The Red Cave.

And here’s how to say it: 

3. Sheep outnumber the human population of Wales four times over.

You read that correctly! There are actually more sheep in Wales than people. It's estimated that there are 11 million sheep in Wales whilst according to the 2011 census there is a human population of 3.1 million living in Wales.

4. The letter K, Q, V, Z do not appear in the Welsh alphabet

The Welsh alphabet currently has 29 letters however the letters K, Q, V and Z do not appear in it. Instead Ch, Dd, Ff, Ng, Ll, Ph, Rh and Th are included in the alphabet. These letters are known as Digraphs which are combination of two characters to create a distinctive sound.

5. Llanddewi Brefi is a real place.

Do you remember Daffyd Thomas from Little Britain and the village that he was so proud to be the only gay of? Well it's a real village in Ceredigionshire and has seen an increase in tourism since the show first aired nearly 13 years ago.

6. Hollywood Stars Born In Wales

Catherine Zeta-Jones Sir Anthony Hopkins Christian Bale
The star of such Hollywood blockbusters such as "The Mask of Zorro" and "Chicago" is originally from Swansea. Catherine’s parents still live in Swansea and Catherine continues to visit on a regular basis. The actor most famously known for playing the cannibalistic villain Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs was born in Margam near Port Talbot in South Wales. Although Christian insists that that he is English due to his English and South African heritage (now I’m not going to go into the conversion of whether you’re place of birth dictates your nationality or not) but the fact is that Christian Bale was actually born in Pembrokeshire.

Timothy Dalton Richard Burton Michael Sheen
For those fans of James Bond and Timothy Dalton it’ll be come as no surprise that Dalton was born in Colwyn Bay in North Wales and was born to an English father and an American mother. Probably the most famous Welsh actor of all time. Burton was born to a Welsh speaking family in Pontrhydyfen in South Wales. Burton was famous for his roles in "Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds" and "Cleopatra" where he starred alongside ex-wife Elizabeth Taylor. The actor famous for playing Tony Blair in "The Queen", Brian Clough in "The Damned United" and playing David Frost in "Frost/Nixon" was born in Newport in South Wales but spent most of his childhood in Baglan near Port Talbot.

7. Let's Talk Music

It is no secret that Wales is known for being the land of song and with voices such as Sir Tom Jones, Bonnie Tyler and Dame Shirley Bassey it’s not hard to see why. Here’s a number of musical acts that were born and breed in Wales.

Manic Street Preachers 
These boys from Cwmaman in South Wales are famous for their five consecutive UK No. 1 albums and such hits as "Have A Nice Day", "Dakota" and "Maybe Tomorrow" to name a small few. Catatonia, a band famous for their welsh roots. Their songs "Road Rage" and "Mulder and Scully" reached the UK Top 5 singles charts in 1998. The band from Blackwood near Caerphilly are a long established rock band who first formed in 1986. "If You Tolerate This" and The Masses Against The Classes" both reached the number one spot in the UK singles charts.
Shakin' Stevens
Katherine Jenkins
Aled Jones
Who doesn't remembers good ole' Shaky in the 80's and his Christmas No. 1 hit "Merry Christmas Everyone". Shaky was born in Cardiff in 1948 and is still going strong to this day with a 30th Anniversary Tour on the way. This opera star best known for her superb voice is as Welsh as they come. Katherine was born in Neath and was awarded an OBE in 2014. Not bad for a Neath girl. Aled Jones first rose to fame for his angelic voice when he perfomed "Walking In The Air" for the 1982 film "The Snowman". Since then the man from Bangor has presented televisions programmes such as Daybreak, Songs of Praise, Cash In The Attic and most recently "The Weekend".   

Do you need help celebrating St. David's Day this year? Why not call into store and browse our Welsh related costumes and party ware or visit us online at

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