Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Gwnewch y pethau bychain

In other words, 'Do the little things.' Supposed to be have been said by Saint David in his last sermon.

St David's Day is celebrated in Wales on 1 March, in honour of Dewi Sant or St David, the patron saint of Wales. When I was school, we had a half day holiday in celebration; today's school-children are less fortunate.

According to an ancient manuscript, Dewi died in the year 589. His mother was called Non, and his father, Sant, was the son of Ceredig, King of Ceredigion. After being educated in Cardiganshire, Dewi went on pilgrimage through south Wales and the west of England, where it is said that he founded religious centres such as Glastonbury and Croyland.
He eventually settled at Glyn Rhosyn (St David's), in south-west Wales, where he established a very strict ascetic religious community. Many miracles have been attributed to him, the most incredible of which was performed when he was preaching at the Synod of Llanddewibrefi - the ground rose underneath him so that he could be seen and heard by all.
Dewi was officially recognised as a Catholic saint in 1120. Though the feast of Dewi as a religious festival came to an end with the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century, the day of his birth became a national festival during the18th century.

Now March 1 is celebrated by schools and cultural societies throughout Wales. It is the custom on that day to wear either a leek or a daffodil - two of our national emblems - and for young girls to wear the national costume and boys to wear the rugby strip.

So that's the history. Now for something much more interesting: how to make Welsh Rarebit.

Put two large tablespoons of beer into a saucepan. Add a tablespoon of butter, 4 ounces of Cheddar cheese, season with salt and pepper and add a pinch of mustard powder. Stir ingredients over a low heat until thoroughly hot (but not boiling). Pour the mixture onto slices of well buttered, freshly made toast. Brown lightly for a few moments under the grill.