National symbols are better known in some countries than others. In Wales, ours are often on display and are emblems to be worn with pride. These are the main 3 symbols of Wales:
1. The Red Dragon
The earliest mention of the Red Dragon is in ‘The Mabinogion’: when a red dragon fought an invading white dragon, his cries were said to cause women to miscarry and plants to die! The symbol was used by the Romans at the time of Emperor Trajan. The Tudors adopted the Red Dragon as their symbol and the Welsh born King Henry VII took to the battle of Bosworth Field under the Red Dragon standard. The Red Dragon is the symbol of Wales which appears on the national flag.
2. The Daffodil
This is another popular emblem of Wales, especially on March 1st, St David’s Day, and the Welsh name is Cenhinen Pedr or Peter’s Leek. Its association with Wales started in the 19th century, but became most famously associated with Wales in the early 20th century when the Welsh Prime Minister Minster David Lloyd George wore one on St David’s Day and at ceremonies to mark the investiture of the then Prince of Wales.
3. The Leek
The leek has been associated with Wales for many years. It was mentioned in the sixth century by the poet Taliesin and in the thirteen century Red Book of Hergest which contains the tales of The Mabinogion. According to legend, St David advised the Britons to wear leeks on their helmets when they fought the Saxons so that they could distinguish friend from foe. This story has versions involving different battles over history and it is also said that the green and white colours of the Tudors originally come from the leek. The leek is worn on St David’s Day and in some Welsh regiments it is traditional that soldiers eat a raw leek on this day. I prefer mine cooked! This year the Queen will present leeks to members of the 3rd Battalion The Royal Welsh as part of the St David’s Day celebrations.