Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

St David’s Day 2024, Wales, UK

1 March

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We’ve all heard of St Patrick’s Day, but how many of you know of St David’s Day? The much neglected patron saint of the principality of Wales is celebrated on 1 March each year. Details of how to celebrate the special day in 2024 can be found below.

Who Was St David?

The patron saint of Wales is also the patron saint of doves. He is often pictured holding a dove standing on a small hill or with one on his shoulder (as below).

Known as Dewi Sant in Welsh, he was born in the town of Caerfai, Pembrokeshire the son of Sant, a prince of Cardigan, and St Non, the daughter of a chieftain, somewhere around the year 500.

He is also reputed to be the nephew of King Arthur.

St David’s Day
St David with a dove on his shoulder

Despite his noble origins, David lived a parsimonious life, noted for being both a vegetarian and a teetotaller – so perhaps he should also be the patron saint of January. He was also known as Dewi Dyfrwr or David the Waterman.

In addition to founding 12 monasteries he is renowned for performing a series of miracles, including raising the ground at the Synod of Brefi so that his sermon could be heard by all those who had gathered there.

He is noted for saying, “Do the little things”, or “Gwnewch y pethau bychain” in Welsh.

Some Facts

The day commemorates the saint’s death on 1 March, 589, more than 1,400 years ago.

However, it was not until the 18th century that the day was declared a national day in Wales.

St David is the only UK patron Saint in the UK who was actually born in the country where he is held as a patron saint.

St Davids
St David’s Cathedral

His shrine is in St Davids, which is also the smallest city in the UK, with a population of around 1,600.

One of the best things to do in Wales is to go walking the Pembrokeshire Coast path, near St Davids.

St David’s Day Food
MamGu Welshcakes
MamGu Welshcakes from Pembrokeshire for St David’s Day

By the 18th century “taffies” – gingerbread men riding a goat, in the manner of St David – were baked for St David’s Day. Alternatively you could try some Welsh Cakes, such as from MamGu’s Welsh Coffee Shop in Solva.

St David’s Day 2024 Events

There will be a number of events across Wales to celebrate St David’s Day in 2024. These include:

29 February – 3 March : Croeso, Swansea

Celebrating all things Welsh across a number of locations in Swansea, with cookery demonstrations, music, street performers and a St David’s Parade, including lots of details for the kids. For more information click here.

1 March : St David’s Day, King Square, Barry

Enjoy live music, market stalls, workshops, street entertainment at King Square, Barry from 2pm to 8pm. Music will be performed by Ysgol Sant Baruc, Barry Community Choir, Nia Tyler and Dagrau Tan. Baby dragons will wander around the square from 4pm. Event is free. Further information is available on the Facebook page.

2 March : The Band of the Prince of Wales in Concert, St David’s Cathedral

Where better to celebrate St David’s Day than in St David’s Cathedral? The Band of the Prince of Wales will perform a concert of marches, hymns and anthems, joined by Only Boys Aloud West and the Whitland Male Voice Choir. Details here.

2 March : St David’s Dragon Parade, St David’s

Or watch the Dragon Parade wind through the streets of the UK’s smallest city. Details of this free event can be found here.

1-4 March : St David’s Day Food & Craft Weekend, National Botanic Garden of Wales

Held in the Great Glasshouse of the Botanic Garden, this weekend food and craft event features Welsh food and drink as well as craft producers and makers. There will also be Welsh folk dancing, music and weaving. More information is here.

3 March : St David’s Day Run, Cardiff

Runs from 5k to half marathons will take place around Bute Park in Cardiff in aid of Cancer Research Wales and Kidney Wales. Entry fee from £10. Details are here.

St David’s Day Costume

People celebrate by wearing a daffodil, the national symbol of Wales, or a leek. Legend has it that before a battle with the Saxons, David instructed the Welsh forces to wear a leek so as to distinguish them from their foes. The Welsh won.

As the day coincides with the first day of spring, and as daffodils resemble leeks, a daffodil is often used to replace a leek.

St David’s Flag

St David's Day Flag
The special flag

The flag of Saint David has is a yellow cross on a black background.

St David’s Day in Welsh

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.

Is St David’s Day a Public Holiday?

Unfortunately not, even though according to a poll in 2007, some 87% of Welsh people want it to be made one. However, PM Tony Blair rejected such calls.

More information on things to do in Wales

For more inspiration on things to do in the principality, visit


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Mark Bibby Jackson

Mark Bibby Jackson

Before setting up Travel Begins at 40, Mark was the publisher of AsiaLIFE Cambodia and a freelance travel writer. When he is not packing and unpacking his travelling bag, Mark writes novels, including To Cook A Spider and Peppered Justice. He loves walking, eating, tasting beer, isolation and arthouse movies, as well as talking to strangers on planes, buses and trains whenever possible. Most at home when not at home.

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