Police bosses call for St David’s Day public holiday

A lady enjoying St. David’s day

Two police bosses have joined forces to urge Prime Minister Theresa May to give Wales new powers to make St David’s Day a public holiday.

According to North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Arfon Jones and Dafydd Llywelyn, his counterpart in Dyfed-Powys, it’s only right that the people of Wales should be allowed to celebrate the national day properly.

They are urging the UK Government to give the Welsh Assembly the power to introduce this holiday.

That would enable them to follow the precedent set in Scotland in 2006 when the Scottish Parliament designated November 30, St Andrew’s Day, as a national holiday.

In Scotland though banks are not required to close and it is up to employers to decide whether to give staff the day off – if November 30 falls on a weekend the next Monday is a holiday instead.

Arfon Jones


“St David’s Day is our national day and I believe that we should introduce it as a holiday to celebrate our status as a nation,” said Arfon Jones.

“It is something I feel very strongly about – we have had a meeting about how we can emphasise the distinctive Welsh identity of our police forces and this is a step we can take.

“Celebrating St David’s Day with a public holiday would celebrate the fact that we are Welsh and that Wales is a country in its own right with its own distinctive identity and customs.

“Many countries have national holidays – in the USA it is Independence Day and in France they have Bastille Day and Victory in Europe Day while in Spain Catalans celebrate their own national day on September 11.

“Just as in Scotland it would be at the discretion of employers but it would at the very least be a recognition and a celebration of our own national identity.”

Mr Jones and Mr Llywelyn are also planning to raise the matter at the next meeting of the four Police and Crime Commissioners in Wales.

Mr Llywelyn said: “The four Commissioners and the four Chief Constables, as employers of tens of thousands of people in Wales, should lobby the Assembly for this change to be introduced.

“Arfon and I believe there is a great deal of support for the idea of creating a new official holiday to celebrate our patron saint’s day.

“It is not a great legislative issue and there is no real barrier to creating a new holiday in Wales.

“It would be a flagship day for our national pride and a mark of our maturity as a nation.”

St. David. Picture by Hchc2009 (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Who was St David?

St David was born circa 542AD at Menevia, which is now called St David’s. He is traditionally believed to be the son of Saint Non and the grandson of  Ceredig ap Cunedda, king of Ceredigion.

He was the founder, abbot and bishop of the monastery and was responsible for much of the spread of Christianity in Wales.

Much of David’s life is shrouded in mystery but he was once believed to be a nephew of King Arthur on his mother’s side and stands today as a symbol of Welsh resistance against the Norman Conquest. He is also recognised as the patron saint of doves.

Miracles associated with David include the Synod of Llanddewi Brefi – where he raised a hill up from the ground so that his followers could better hear a sermon – restoring sight to the blind St. Paulinus and bringing a dead boy back to life with his tears

His teachings drew pilgrims from Ireland and from Europe. It is believed he died in 601AD.

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  1. “Police bosses” otherwise known as two Plaid Cymru politicians.

  2. This is not party-political. I seem to recall Corbyn supported it too. It is only opposed by those who are ideologically committed to the suppression of our national identity

  3. Once again Westminster treats Wales differently to N Ireland and Scotland.

  4. CambroUiDunlainge

    Not keen on the concept holidays around religious figures. Not keen on St. Davids cross being an emblem of our country in any way shape or form either. I don’t believe it reflects the increasingly non-religious nature of the modern day.

    • You’ll get over it.

    • @CambroUiDunlainge I get your sentiment entirely, and I myself am impressed with the largely irreligious nature of the Cymry these days, but nevertheless a lot of people in Wales recognise the 1st of March as a special day. Nobody really cares about a Catholic saint (Wales stopped being Catholic a long time ago), but it’s still a symbol of Welshness. Eisteddfodau occur in schools throughout Wales, daffodils abound, Welsh dishes are made prominent on menus, and people dress in national costume. We non-theists don’t call off Christmas because we don’t believe in the nativity story.

      • CambroUiDunlainge

        Maybe when we have an Independence Day that can replace it – unless we try and shift attention to more forgotten occasions like days where Llywelyn or Owain are commemorated (which we should be emphasising anyway) Ultimately as much as we embrace it our nation has become significantly less Christian. We’ve got more religions but our own people as you say are becoming irreligious. Just don’t believe ideologies of any kind should be of national importance. I think we should seek to separate them.

        • Even better if we can declare our independence on Mawrth y 1af!
          I’m torn – I like your idea of a completely secular state. However, as a non-theist, I am still deeply rooted in Dydd Gwyl Dewi. At least he was actually Welsh – a relationship unlike other patron saints and their respective… patronages(?)

  5. It’s about time. It’s part of our identity! Cymru am Byth!!

  6. “A lady enjoying St. David’s day”: that image, and its title, put me right off the article.

  7. We should commemorate our national saints and remember that welsh Christianity predated English by over 150 years and was closer to christs teaching than the corrupt wealth accumulating machine of the church in rome.we should also acknowledge that in the so called dark ages of europe,wales provided a beacon of light against a backdrop of barbarism in an age of saints.all this history has been wiped off the record and replaced by a dark age, so that saxon triumphalism could endure to this day.so much of our history has been airbrushed.

    • jim humphreys

      Okay, as a conservative (not unionist) I don’t mind Pelagius, quite a fan actually.
      But I hope the welsh conservatives come on board as there is a future to be won.

      • John Wesley was a fan of Pelagius as well, but his ideas weren’t biblical and certainly don’t sit well with the much more biblical Calvinist theology which prevailed in Wales during the heyday of nonconformity (early 18th – late 19th centuries).

        As for St. David, it’s a shame that we know so little actual history (as opposed to legend) about him, though we know that Christianity was already present in Wales long before his time (perhaps as early as the second century). If we were wanting to celebrate influential religious figures, I’d prefer to remind people of Daniel Rowland, Howell Harris, John Elias, Christmas Evans, and perhaps most far-reaching of all in his general influence, Griffith Jones Llanddowror – the man who made Wales one of the most literate nations of earth, if not the most literate at the time.

        Even so, I’m all for having a national day just to celebrate being Welsh, and there’s no serious contender to replace St. David’s Day. We certainly should make more of it than we do.

  8. Putting religious debate aside and party political point-scoring aside, the two heddlu head honchoes are right to point out that if Scotland and Northern Ireland celebrate their national day, then Wales should do likewise. I’m amazed that this isn’t a devolved issue and that Carwyn and co. have to ask for permission from their betters in Westminster. While I’m at it, I see no reason why Wales could not have its own system for awarding medals or some other honour to Welsh citizens for services to this country. Again, of limited importance in practical terms, but — again — symbolically important. I’d give Catherine Jenkins one (a medal).

  9. I hope they are successful. But it won’t apply to me. I work in the private sector see.

    • In two of my most recent forays into private sector work I had bank holidays off (One where I was an insuance broker and the other was a family run jeweller)
      I did not receive bank holidays off when I worked for a supermarket nor when I managed a computer game shop. capitalism trumps religious days off, innit

  10. The downside is that all the kids who nowblearn and celebrate the day at school, will end up spending the day in the shops, watching US films and eating out at McDonalds. There’s a risk that loads of kids will end up having no idea that the day exists.

    • Oh I doubt it. We can be ferocious about such things.
      I hope they are in the shops then they can come and join in the parade through Aberystwyth 🙂

  11. peter humphreys

    The question here is that Wales should be allowed to celebrate its national day as a holiday in the same way as many other countries. That day is 1 March. We should be allowed march in our streets, sign songs and celebrate Wales and being Welsh. The religious background to St David is insignificant. Be proud to be Welsh, be proud to be different.

  12. Perfectly possible if only carwyn and his merry band of raving Marxist Leninists would so deign – they won’t.

    Az i’ve written here before, we take the holiday known as Gwener y Groglith – the one where the Palestinian carpenter was up on the roman torture-death gallow and transfer it to Mawrth 1af – so actually no extra banc holiday. It would help the thousands of us who are dependent for (some sort of) a living on the inglish tuoriste trade: we get a banc holiday that we can actually use (not having to work for our inglish masters servicing their inglish custummiers) that wouldn’t have many tuoristes involved since Gwyl Ddewi is in the middl of winter.

    And to go on in the same veigne, and for the same reasons of fairness to us who whorque in the ‘hospitalite trayde’, we should dispence with the august banc hol and transfer it to Ddydd Owain (Glyndwr) – Medi 16eg.

    The inglsche would never notice

    toodle pip

  13. There is technically a difference between a bank holiday and a public holiday. “Bank holidays are holidays when banks and many other businesses are closed for the day. Public holidays are holidays which have been observed through custom and practice.” The Wales Act reserves bank holidays but does not appear to reserve public holidays. So I would assume that the Assembly could make St Davids Day a Public Holiday once the Act comes into affect, although workers may not have the same legal rights as it would for bank holidays.

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