Thursday, March 01, 2007

Dydd Dewi Sant

That's "St David's Day" to us poor non-Welsh-speakers, and today is the day. I am half Welsh, but you wouldn't know because I don't sound Welsh at all: what I call Stealth Welsh. With a little investigation one discovers an extraordinary number of us Stealth Welsh around the place; so many, in fact, that Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister of Wales, has sweetly sent a Festive Message (hyperlink) to Welsh people living overseas. He says "Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus a llwyddiannus dros ben i chi gyd", which translates roughly as "Isn't this Labour government just perfectly marvellous?"* which I'm sure is exactly what I and others had been longing to hear on this day of national pride in our ancient culture.
Elsewhere I found a website usefully informing me that "the celebration usually entails singing and eating". This knowledge made me feel very proud and loyal as I was able to reflect with satisfaction that I both sing and eat every single day, and not only on St David's Day itself. What patriot could do more?
My favourite fact about St David is that his mother was called Non, a name which to my puerile mind has almost inexhaustible comic possibilities (quite incidentally, the philologically minded may care to know that Welsh doesn't really have a word for "no". Instead you negate the sentence you're replying to, truncate and restate it). I was delighted, however, to discover the motto associated with this 6th Century Abbot: "Gwnewch y pethau bychan", or "Do the little things", which is a fine thought to take away on a Lent day. Do the little things, indeed. Mony a mickle maks a muckle, after all.

*It actually reads 'I wish you a happy St David's Day', though if you read the rest of his touching missive you will see that my cynicism is by no means misplaced.


Blogger Cie said...

Good to read your posts, you'd gone silent since Ash Wed so I was hoping blogging wasn't a vice from which you'd decided to abstain. Missed you the other night, sitting in those DVT-inducing half-seats in the Coliseum balcony at a v amusing Agrippina.

8:56 am  
Blogger Mark Williams said...

Poor old Non. Read a marve poem about her and Dewi the other day. Glad you had fun! Jesus college was awash with Welshness yesterday.

Gwyl Dewi Sant hapus i ti!

5:55 pm  
Blogger Jenny said...

Hmm I have always wondered with my mongrel nationality whether i could claim to be ''fully'' Welsh. Both my parents were born there and one set of rellies (what's left) is still there... Plus my dad wears a Welsh rugby top. I guess I will be when it suits :)
J x

9:27 am  

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