Tag Archives: st david’s day

The Land of Song – A Guest Post for St. David’s Day

 

Today we have a St. David’s Day guest post from Penni Carr.  I met Penni during my  musical theatre days (sorry Penni for the old photo).  She went on to become a professional actress and since becoming a mum, has founded Babi Bach a bilingual music class for babies and toddlers. Penni writes about the connection the Welsh have with singing and how the Welsh language is an integral part of that. Are Welsh people good singers? Why do we love singing so much?  Read on the find out more…

Penni and Rachel
Welsh people often get asked if they are born being able to sing? As if it is some magical power that Celtic people posses from birth. Now, some people may believe this is true but I believe something slightly different. I believe that Welsh people are born into a heritage rich in tradition and passion and one way that we pass this on is through song.
Children will be taught nursery rhymes and songs in Welsh and English, even if English is the only language spoken at home (which Welsh people here have ever sung “Mi Welais Jac y Do” or “Calon Lan” without learning any other welsh?!) I think that, from birth, singing is something that we usually hear every day and so it becomes something very natural for children to do; to sing along and join in with the song – to pass on the history, the tradition and the language.

Welsh lady
Music is one of the only things that engages the WHOLE brain and, as such, is an incredibly useful teaching aid. I bet you can remember songs that you sang at school when you were five far more easily than you can remember the periodic table! Unless you can sing that too like the fabulous Tom Lehrer!

I founded Babi Bach in September 2013. We are a bilingual baby music class suitable for little ones from birth to three and we use music and songs to help little ones learn languages. We believe that music and language help children develop communication skills, social skills, gross motor skills, fine motor skills, spatial awareness, community links and, most importantly, it’s FUN! So pass on your song and watch your little ones flourish. All together now…

Mi welais Jac Y Do         ( Me well-ice Jack err Door)

 Yn eistedd ar ben tô      ( Un ‘A’ steth arr ben tor)

Het wen ar ei ben            (Het when arr ‘A’ ben)

A dwy goes bren              ( a doi gois bren)

Ho ho ho ho ho ho!         ( Hor hor hor hor hor hor)

 

Thanks Penni x

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Happy St. David’s Day: My Recording of Llwyn Onn

As my final St. David’s Day post I thought I’d share my recording of the Welsh folk song Llwyn Onn. I have wanted to record acapella harmony singing for some time so, with a little patience, a book of folk songs and some free audio-recording software called Audacity, I managed to get my first attempt of singing with myself uploaded.

Some of the pictures are holiday snaps but most are lovely pictures of Wales I found on Flickr from The Ancient Brit.

Even more fitting is that this St. David’s Day is the funeral of a good friend of my dad’s who passed away recently, so you’ll note the little tribute at the end in memory of Derek Baker – rest in peace.

Why Do We Wear Daffodils and Leeks on St. David’s Day?

Welsh ladyHave you ever wondered why we wear leeks and daffodils on St. David’s Day?

The story goes that the Welsh were in a battle with the Saxons. As the Saxons and the Welsh wore similar clothes, it was difficult to establish who they should be fighting.  A monk (St. David) suggested the Welsh to wear a leek in their helmet to identify them. The Welsh went on to win the battle and the leek was adopted as the Welsh emblem..

Another  legend suggests that Welsh archers fought and won a battle against the French in a field of leeks. The Welsh soldiers took to wearing leeks in their caps on St.David’s Day to remember their bravery.

The wearing of a daffodil is a more recent tradition popularised by David Lloyd George. Some suggestions are that the daffodil closely resembles a leek flower and since they are more common than leek flowers, the daffodil is worn instead . Another suggestion is simply that it is a popular flower that grows around the time of St.David’s Day and offers a less smelly alternative to wearing a leek.

Making Daffodils for St David’s Day.

How to Make Welsh Cakes for St. David’s Day

welsh cakesIt has become a tradition in my house that we make Welsh Cakes for St David’s Day.  As a child in Wales St David’s Day was a big event.  We would go to school dressed in traditional costume. The morning would involve a special assembly during which we sang Welsh songs and presented prizes for the Welsh themed art and craft activities we had been involved in. We even had a half day to mark the occasion.

Living in England, St David’s Day is a low key affair but I always wear my daffodil and make Welsh Cakes.

Ingredients (makes approx 24)

175g( 3/4 cup) butter and lard mixed

450g (2 cups) self-raising flour

175g (3/4 cup) caster sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice

75g (1/3 cup) currants

2 eggs

rub fat into flour
Step 1. Rub fat into flour (or tickle it)
baking
Step 2. Add the other dry ingredients.
beat eggs
Step 3. Beat eggs and add to mixture
knead
Step 4. Knead into a dough

(Spot the baby cunningly stealing an apple).

welsh cakes
Step 5. Cut out shapes
welsh cakes
Step 6. Cook on a griddle

Welsh cakes are traditionally cooked on a bakestone, a cast iron or steel griddle that would have been placed on the fire. If you don’t have one a heavy frying pan would suffice. Place it on the hob on a very low heat.

welsh cakes
Step 7. Sprinkle with sugar.
welsh cakes
Step 8. Eat