Dydd Gwyl Dewi - St David's Day

Here's wishing a happy St David's Day to you all. Shame it's not a holiday but the measly UK government has decided we don't deserve one.

At least George Bush is with us. He sends his greetings today via the US Ambassador:

"Today, the people of the United States and Wales stand together promoting liberty and equality around the world, but never forgetting the admonition of St David himself to 'do the little things'."

Ah, good old St David and his funny little quote. He said nothing about not doing the big things, though, so I guess all the wars we've been having lately are just fine and dandy.

One little thing schoolchildren better not forget to do is dress up today. Girls wear traditional Welsh costume (see picture) and boys, resulting from a sort of cultural desperation, dress either as miners or scrawny rugby players.

So it's all a bit of a joke really, since the 'traditional costume' was an invention of the aristocracy in any case. Yes, the reason girls decorate themselves with that silly hat and dinner cloth is that Lady Llanover decided in 1834 to force her servants to wear the costume and so forge a new tradition. And like many of the nineteenth century's essentially Anglo-centric cultural inventions we now accept lazily as 'Welsh', it worked.

Beth bynnag, dyma dymuno Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus. (Peidiwch a gweithio'n rhy galed!)

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posted by Blamerbell @ 9:14 am,

9 Comments:

At 10:12 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Blamby, now that you have helped to clear the mist and expose the myth behind one of our traditions, how do you propose Welsh children should celebrate this day in a less harmfull way? I do so hate smug negativity especially when nothing positive is offered in it's place.

 
At 11:11 am, Blogger bethan said...

for someone who isn't a nationalist you've got a lot of leeks, daffodils and welsh costumes floating around your blog of late! Having a re-think are we?!

Dydd Gwyl Dewi Hapus ta beth!

 
At 11:20 am, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"you've got a lot of leeks, daffodils and welsh costumes floating around your blog of late!"

I think it's called topicality.

"I do so hate smug negativity especially when nothing positive is offered in it's place."

I do apologise that Wales doesn't really have any traditional dress. Perhaps I should have invented some too?

 
At 4:00 pm, Anonymous seren said...

Traditions are there to be invented!

The late great Gwyn Alf reminded us that Wales has reinvented itself time after time. The last re-invention was sometime in the 30s when we all became part of a Lewis Jones novel and awaited the glorious proletarian revolution. Some of us are still waiting.

Cool Cymru was a kind of reinvention but never got out of the starting blocks, but at least the metropolitan (i.e. English) media started to realise there was more to Wales than sheep shagging.

Iolo Morgannwg had a whale of a time inventing the Eisteddfodic tradition and I wouldn't lose that. Any tradition that has a peace slogan at its core (and the symbolic sheathing of a sword) can't be all bad. And it makes cross-dressing acceptable for Methodists too.

But it is high time we had a makeover that ditched the black hats and dai caps, twee harps and limp folk music...

In their place? That deserves a thread all its own...

A public holiday on March 1st would symbolise a start.

 
At 4:52 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

"Iolo Morgannwg had a whale of a time inventing the Eisteddfodic tradition and I wouldn't lose that. Any tradition that has a peace slogan at its core (and the symbolic sheathing of a sword) can't be all bad. And it makes cross-dressing acceptable for Methodists too."

Don't forget the sycophantic royalism that defined the early Eisteddfods. I'm sure as a 'Socialist Republican' you're right behind that too:)

 
At 9:41 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think it's called topicality."

Barrels and scraping comes to mind.

 
At 10:05 pm, Blogger Blamerbell said...

" Anonymous said...

"I think it's called topicality."

Barrels and scraping comes to mind."

Smarmy and idiot comes to mind.

 
At 11:32 am, Anonymous seren said...

Don't forget the sycophantic royalism that defined the early Eisteddfods. I'm sure as a 'Socialist Republican' you're right behind that too:)

No need for the quotes around socialist republican ;-)

You're right - the "Royal" National Eisteddfod both today and in its Victorian heyday is/was a great example of the Celtic Cringe, bowing and scraping to the British Establishment. In the 19th C there were essay competitions (in English) lauding the greatness of empire. But that's the crachach for you.

I still like the sheathed sword bit.

 
At 12:53 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read cleckanndra old mate

 

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