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Dates for assembly

March 1 St David's Day (Dydd Gwyl Ddewi) Many stories about the patron saint of Wales are disputed, but he was influential in spreading Christianity among the Celts.

Outline script for assembly leaders

He never drank beer; he never drank wine. He drank only water - and it is also said that would often stand in a lake with icy water up to his neck, reciting passages from the Bible. It is because of this that he is sometimes called David the Waterman.

The son of a Welsh prince, he is thought to have been born near the present-day town of St David's, then known as Menevia, in west Wales. His mother, Non, also became a saint.

As a young man, he travelled to the Isle of Wight to study with a teacher called Paulinus from whom he learned the Christian faith.

In time, David became a priest and returned to his homeland. He built no less than 12 monasteries. These included one at Menevia, where he settled.

Life in his monastery was strict. Like David, the monks drank only water.

For lunch they ate only bread and leeks - with salt. Every lunch was the same: bread and vegetables and a little salt. Most of the day was spent in silence and no sleep was allowed between Friday evening and Sunday morning.

Nor did David let his monks use any oxen or horses to plough the fields.

"Each monk is his own ox. He must pull the plough himself."

He eventually became Archbishop of Wales and, after his death, was regarded as a saint. Many churches were named after him.

In the 17th century, his saint's day (originally marked as a holy day) became a national festival among the Welsh, and is now celebrated by Welsh people around the world. Traditionally, many wear a leek or daffodil on his day, although the daffodil was only adopted as a Welsh emblem in the 20th century.

Follow-up

Investigate why local roads and churches are named after particular saints.

Research the national days of other countries (eg Bastille Day in France, Waitangi Day in New Zealand).

St Joseph is the patron saint of fathers; John the Baptist of health spas; St Vitus of comedians. Who would be an appropriate patron saint for your school, team or year?

* Further information about David and suggestions for relevant activities at www.stdavidsga-cymru.org * Flowers for St David's Day, page 12

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