Les Parsons: Welsh Society honours St. David
“To be born Welsh is to be born Privileged, not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your blood and poetry in your soul.”
This old Welsh saying comes to life in Vernon on March 1 when The Vernon Welsh Society holds its annual celebration of St. David’s Day with a lunch and songfest in honour of the patron Saint of Wales, St. David (the equivalent of Ireland’s St. Patrick, Scotland’s St. Andrew and England’s St. George).
St. David (or in the Welsh language, Dewi Sant) was a Celtic monk who became Archbishop of Wales in the sixth century and helped to spread Christianity to the Celtic tribes of western Britain. He was descended from royal lineage, indeed a grand nephew of King Arthur and son of the Prince of South-West Wales known as Ceredig. However, his life was dedicated to his missionary work and spreading the gospel. He was credited with numerous miracles, including rising a youth from the dead and causing water to spring from the ground. He also founded numerous churches and monasteries throughout the country.
He died March 1, 589 at the age of more than 100 and was buried at the Glyn Rhosyn Monastery he founded where now stands the majestic Cathedral of St. David’s. He is a very important figure in Welsh history and in the establishment of the Welsh culture. His last words to his followers were “Do the little things I have done,” and “walk the path that our fathers have trod before us.” On the anniversary of his death, a 1,000-strong male voice choir gathers every year at St. David’s Hall in Cardiff in a remembrance performance. In Vernon, the Vernon Welsh Society marks the occasion with an annual lunch and sing-along.
A lunch will be held at the Village Green Hotel, 4801-27th St., March 1 at noon, lunch served at 12:30 p.m., which includes barbecued chicken and sheperd’s pie, although St. David was a vegetarian, and a cash bar to lubricate the vocal chords, even though St. David drank only water. All are invited whether or not they are of Welsh heritage. The only requirement is that attendees want to enjoy good food and rousing singing. The cost is $20 per person; reserve your spot by calling Les Parsons at 250-549-4348 before Feb. 24.
Les Parsons is with The Vernon Welsh Society.