March 1, 2013 - Whuppity Scoorie Day in Lanark, Scotland

St. David's Day in Wales

If you live in Lanark, Scotland, you will hear the church bells chime at 6:00 this evening—and then the sounds of running, laughing, yelling children.

In this festival that welcomes spring, the children of the town run around the church, making noise and twirling overhead paper balls on strings. After three laps, the kids gather in front of the Community Council—and then scramble for coins tossed their way.

After these old traditions are over, the kids settle in for some new additions to the festival: a Whuppity Scoorie Storytelling Festival and art workshops.

Nobody is really sure why the old traditions got their start, but scholars believe they may have been Pagan customs meant to drive off evil spirits.

If you live in Wales, you will probably wear a daffodil or a leek (a kind of onion) in your lapel today, and you might attend a community parade, a school concert, or a poetry recitation.

Today Wales celebrates its patron saint, St. David. Daffodils are a symbol of Wales, and leeks are a symbol of St. David specifically; it is said that St. David asked Welsh soldiers to wear leeks on their hats so that they could easily spot each other in battle, since the English soldiers wore very similar uniforms.
The black-and-gold flags are
St. David's flags. The red dragon
flag is the flag of Wales.

A common event on St. David's Day is eisteddfodau, which is a festival of literature, music, and culture. People recite poems and sing songs and do other sorts of performances; we might call such an event a concert or a recital.

Welsh people often gather together after the parades and concerts to eat dinners featuring cawl, a traditional Welsh soup made with bacon, potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, and of course leeks.

St. David's Day is celebrated in some other places in the world by people with Welsh heritage. In Disneyland Paris there is an entire week devoted to a Welsh theme, with the Disney characters wearing traditional Welsh costumes and parades and a fireworks show devoted to Welsh symbols and history. The city of Los Angeles, California, has the largest St. David's Day Festival in the U.S., with an eisteddfod, a Celtic marketplace, classes, and a concert.

Also on this date:


  1. So, a few days before his birthday, David actually has his own holiday. Who knew? And since he is part Welsh and part Scottish, this is perfect!