Uncategorized, Wales

Happy St David’s Day!

Happy St David’s Day/Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus.

I’m late posting this, but let me rectify it by offering you a recipe for Welsh Cakes and Crempogau (Welsh Pancakes). The recipe for crempogau is (apparently) one of the oldest in Wales. They aren’t like crepes or American pancakes and take about 55mins to make so allow the time!

Both Welsh Cakes and crempogau are best made on bakestones/griddles, and we used to have a cast iron one that I wish I’d kept. FORTUNATELY we were gifted John Lewis vouchers by lovely relatives as wedding gifts, so guess what I’m buying this Spring (for post-Lent noms)…!

Welsh Spinners: Public Domain: A late 19th century photo of women in a rural Welsh costume, Library of Congress

Welsh Cakes

I usually adapt this BBC Food recipe and add a lot of cinnamon and some nutmeg to the mix, but that’s my preference-!

I’ll take the opportunity to link you to the traditional recipe and in so doing plug The Market Bakery, Abergavenny, which is really worth a visit if you’re ever in that area.


I’ll share this traditional recipe: traditionally eaten on Shrove Tuesday/Dydd Mawrth Ynyd (Pancake Day) but tasty all year round!

This recipe has some ideas for hot/cold toppings (both sweet and savoury)!

Traditionally it came with a folk song chanted by children as they went house to house on Shrove Tuesday asking for pancakes:

(English translation from National Museum of Wales)

Woman of the house and good family,
Please may I have a pancake ?
Mother is too poor to buy flour
And Father too lazy to work.
Please may I have a pancake ?
My mouth is dry for want of a pancake.
If there is no butter in the house
Put a large spoonful of treacle,
And if there is no treacle in the house
Give a terribly large pancake.
Terribly, terribly.

You can listen to the song in Welsh here from the National Museum’s page.

The music is available to download as .pdf.

St David’s Day

Castell Coch stained glass panel (19thC)

St David is the patron saint of Wales and his day has been celebrated for centuries. There’s a gorgeous 18thC oil painting by an unknown(?) artist of the ‘British School‘ I wanted to add here but can’t so I’ll link you to it instead: A Celebration of St David’s Day, NMW A 29327

St David was a 6thC saint who was big into living in community, what’s now termed (loosely) eco-spirituality, and enacting transformation through small daily acts. His last words to his followers were (according to Rhygyfarch, who wrote his hagiography, available to read in full in translation here and on archive.org): “Do the little things, the small things you’ve seen me doing.”

WalesOnline has a nice article of facts and links that might be of interest, and a lovely picture of a St David’s Day parade in Cardiff which, as well as the Welsh flag, features both the black and yellow cross flag of St David, not featured in the Union Jack since Wales was subordinate to and classified as ‘England’ during the Union Jack’s design and adoption and so was not represented as part of the Union on its own merit, and the flag of Llywelyn the Last (the four lions rampant, red & yellow).

If you’re interested in how the struggles of Welsh nationalism and independence have been represented in Gothic literature, I’ve done a few posts based on Jane Aaron’s excellent study, Welsh Gothic, (University of Wales Press, 2013). The context of modern social unrest and the relatively short-lived rise of Welsh paramilitary groups is covered in this post.

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