Thursday, children the length and breadth of Wales will wear their Welsh costumes in celebration of St. David’s Day. The girls in their tall bonnets and traditional Welsh dress and the boys in their red tops, with a leek or daffodil proudly attached. Although forsome years now these traditions have been put aside in favour of the Welsh rugby top which is worn with great pride and will be again despite the narrow defeat last Saturday! There will be eisteddfodau and concerts commemorating this special day as we celebrate our nationhood whose history, language and culture isunique and of which we can all be proud.So,whether the weather tomorrow, be it snow or shine, St David’s Day will be celebrated not only here in Wales but in all other countries of the world where the diaspora of Wales will meet to remember Dewi and the land of their birth. It’s almost impossible to translate the word ‘hiraeth’, at best it means a deep longing for homeland instilled with memories of families and friends. Catherine Zeta- Jones having left her native Swansea and having found great dramatic success in the USA tells of returning home and meeting old friends in the local pub. She was asked ‘What are you doing now? And I go, ‘Oh I’m doing a film with Antonio Bandaras and Anthony Hopkins and they go ‘Oh good – and that’s it!’ ‘It’s brilliant’ she said and could only happen in Wales!
Dewi, our patron saint reflected such a heritage. He was an evangelist who reminded the people that in doing kind and loving deeds lay the integrity and true worth of any nation where every person is seen as equal despite who or what they were. Wales in the 21st Century may be far removed from the rough and rural land which Dewi knew while many of the concerns and problems remain the same. His inspiration was in theincarnate love of God in Jesus Christ whose ways Dewi emulated in preaching and reminding the people that in doing even little acts of love and compassion Wales would truly find her heart and true heritage., That’s why extending a helping hand and never being indifferent to the needs of othersis so important. Tomorrow we will wear our daffodils and leeks with pride not only on our clothes but in our hearts and by doing so seek to follow Dewi’s example of worship, service and love of his land and people. DyddGwyl Dewi Sant!