Less than Half of Welsh People Know the Story Behind St. David’s Day

Wednesday 27 February 2013

The Welsh are renowned for their cultural attachment to their homeland. However a recent survey* conducted by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service, showed that less than half of the nation knows why St. David’s Day is really celebrated

Less than half of Welsh people know the story behind St. David’s Day

With only a couple of days until we don our daffodils and leeks with pride on 1 March, Cadw is encouraging people to reconnect with their heritage on St David’s Day by opening its sites for free in celebration of the Patron Saint of Wales.

Saint David, or Dewi Sant in Welsh, travelled through south Wales and the west of England, founding religious centres along the way. He had a strong and loyal following who believed the saint could work miracles. Tradition has it that he died on the first day of March in 589AD, and this date later became Wales’s National Day.

The survey revealed other interesting statistics about the nation’s knowledge of Welsh history. 70 per cent of Welsh people don’t know why Santes Dwynwen Day is celebrated on 25 January, while 56 per cent of people thought there were less than 100 castles in Wales, when in fact there are over 600.** It also revealed that more than 45 pe rcent of people haven’t visited a castle in the last five years or more.

The story of St Dwynwen is one of Wales’s greatest legends. Unable to marry the man she loved, she devoted her life to the happiness of lovers which led to her becoming the patron saint of lovers. Her story is celebrated on 25 January the Welsh Valentine’s Day. 

Huw Lewis, the Minster for Heritage, said, 'This survey suggests that there is a lack of awareness about Welsh history by some of us here in Wales, and in response we’re calling on Welsh communities to take an interest in their heritage, and take advantage of the free entry offer on St David’s Day to visit one of the many historical sites on their doorstep.

'My new Historic Environment Strategy stresses the value of our heritage as a way of fostering national and local pride, providing opportunities for learning and enhancing our tourism appeal. I want all our people to have the opportunity to realise the benefits of our heritage'.

Cadw is the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. Visit www.cadw.wales.gov.uk to discover more about Cadw attractions and events in your area. You can also ‘like’ Cadw on Facebook and follow @CadwWales on Twitter to stay up to date.

*1,007 people in Wales were surveyed via Censuswide Online.

**Source: Visit Wales