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Official Languages: Welsh, English Welsh is a living language, used in conversation by thousands and seen throughout Wales. The Welsh people are keen to keep the language alive so Welsh is a compulsory subject for all school pupils up to the age of 16 in Wales. Welsh Alphabet
The national flag - The Red Dragon (or in Welsh Y Ddraig Goch) - was granted official status in 1959, but the dragon itself has been associated with Wales for centuries. Some say it’s the oldest national flag still in use, and that it was used by King Arthur and other ancient Celtic leaders. The Welsh Flag
The Daffodil The Welsh for leek (the original national emblem) is Cenhinen, while the Welsh for daffodil is Cenhinen Pedr. Over the years they became confused until the daffodil was adopted as a second emblem of Wales. National Emblems The Leek According to legend St David advised the Britons on the eve of a battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps so as to easily distinguish friend from foe. This helped to secure a great victory. Today Welsh people around the world wear leeks on St David's Day. It is also a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek on St David's Day. The Daffodil The Leek
The harp is regarded as the national instrument of Wales. By the end of the 18th century, the triple harp - so called because it had three rows of strings - was widely known as the Welsh harp on account of its popularity in Wales. The harp has been used through the ages as an accompaniment to folk-singing and dancing and as a solo instrument. HRH Prince Charles appoints a Welsh Royal Harpist on a scholarship programme annually. Past Royal harpists include Catrin Finch. The Harp
The Crest of three ostrich plumes and the motto "Ich Dien" (I serve) were adopted by Edward the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy. Edward became Prince of Wales in 1343, and was a popular leader - so much so that thousands of Welshmen joined him to fight in the French wars. In fact, a quarter of Edward's troops were composed of Welsh archers and spearmen. The crest is used today in royal heraldry and the feathers still adorn the badge of the National Rugby Union team of Wales. The Prince of Wales Feathers
For the ladies the typical Welsh costume consists of a hat, made of black felt, with a high crown and wide brim, which is worn over a lace cap. A red flannel shawl is worn over a crisp white blouse, and a full skirt made of wool with a black and white check pattern and a starched, white apron. Proper Welsh ladies always wore black woolen stockings and black shoes and carried a basket, made from willow withies.
The most important eisteddfod is the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe. Its eight days of competitions and performances, entirely in the Welsh language, are staged annually in the first week of August usually alternating between North and South Wales.
For centuries the first of March has been a national festival. St David was recognised as a national patron saint at the height of Welsh resistance to the Normans. To celebrate this day, people wear a symbol of either a leek, or daffodil. St David St. David's Day Parade Cardiff
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