Test Your Welsh on Saint David’s Day

The 1st March is a celebration in Wales of St David, the patron saint. Although it has been more than 1400 years since the days of St David, the Welsh sense of culture and pride hasn’t dulled for a day.


There are many legends regarding the humble St David, none more linked to his patriotism than during the battle of the Welsh against the Saxons. With Wales losing the battle and confusion on the field with who was who, a monk suggested that all Welsh pull a leek from the ground and wear it on their helmets. The soldiers did (probably thinking this is a bit weird but anyway) and they won the battle. That monk was David and to this day the leek is a national emblem of the Welsh.


Wales will come alive with parades, and awash with red dragons, yellow daffodils, green leeks and colourful traditional dress. The town of St David, which has a cathedral in honour of the patron saint has street parties and traditional music. It is almost a carnival atmosphere of patriotism. A number of Welsh Heritage sites remove their entry fees on this day to encourage visitors to get into the spirit.

Welsh Phrases

As part of my mission on vulnerable languages here and exploring more of the UK here are some handy Welsh phrases (with pronunciations!)

Welsh has a lot of similarities to other Celtic languages, with a hard ’g’ sound and ’ch’ similar to that in Loch. It looks a bit of a bonkers language with a ’ll’ sound almost like a ’clu’ sound but it’s worth a wee go!

Shw’mae [shoe-my] hi (south Wales pronunciation)

Su’mae [see-my] hi (north Wales pronunciation)

Bore da [borr-eh da] good morning

P’nawn da [p-noun da] good afternoon

Noswaith da [noss-why-th da] good evening

Nos da [noss da] good night

Diolch [dee-ol-ch] thanks

Croeso [crow-see-oh] welcome

Os gwelwch yn dda [oss goo-ell-oock uh-n tha] please

Helô / Hylô [hello] hello

Hwyl [hoo-eel] bye

Iechyd da [yeah-ck-id dah] cheers

So give it a try today on St David’s Day. As the saying goes:


ce nedl heb iaith, cenedl heb galon

“A nation without a language is a nation without a heart”

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