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Thursday, 21 March, 2002, 10:06 GMT
Should St David's Day be a public holiday?
St David's Day bank holiday graphic
The issue of making St David's Day a Wales-only public holiday has been debated once again at the Welsh Assembly.

Any decision on a future bank holiday to mark the patron saint of Wales ultimately rests with Westminster as the assembly does not have sufficient power to make the ruling.

Click here to read the full story.

And while the prospect is not surprisingly a popular one with the general public, businesses are reluctant to support it because of the loss in working hours.

But there are also arguments that increased celebrations and an increase in tourism, could bring a boost to local economies.

Like St Patrick's Day in Ireland, do you think a bank holiday should be declared in Wales on 1 March?

This Talking Point is now closed. A selection of your views are listed below.


St David's day should be a public holiday. It is about time we're recognised as a truly great nation, one of four such great nations which make up the UK. Ireland, who shares its patron saint with the six counties of N Ireland has a bank holiday on St Patrick's day. And the Irish have become a successful force to be reckoned with, within the EU. The closure of businesses/suspension of trade for one saint's day, is not now holding them back economically. Each nation should have its public bank holiday to celebrate its patron saint.
Eirwen Davies, north Wales

No we have enough public holidays and the Welsh can stop complaining as their should be no holidays for St Andrew's or St George's day we haven't had them before now.
K Matthews, UK

Why is that we only seem to be able celebrate some vague traditions of some day in the distant past when banks happened to close. Can't we have better things to celebrate? .... like most of our European friends ...? I'm in favour of the Super Furry Animals approach; negotiate in your work contract that you don't work on 1st March - it worked for them!!
Gareth, Luxembourg


Wales should take this opportunity to recognise that it is a different country with different customs

Des Curtis, Costa Rica
There has been an unfortunate trend, e.g. the Anne Robinson incident, for Wales to be regarded as the UK's Cinderella. The creation of a St David's Day holiday, would be an appropriate bravado riposte.
Michael, Scotland

I think we should have national holidays for St David, St Andrew and St George. PS Has anyone dared tell the Irish that St Patrick was a Welshman?
Rhodri Evans, Wales

YES. This has to be an important cultural day for Welsh identity. Linked with the day should be a variety of social and cultural events throughout the whole country. Wales should take this opportunity to recognise that it is a different country with different customs. There should also be civic days to represent events that have occurred in Welsh history. Wales and Welsh people need to become more aware of its incredible history. Des Curtis.
Des Curtis, Costa Rica

I would love to see a St David's, St Andrew's and St George's Day it would give us all a sense of togetherness and experience each other's culture in each part of the UK. Though the down side is that on St George's day and you carry a Cross of St George people call you racist, I find it very upsetting and I feel that bringing St George's day into the open would help to get rid of the racist over tones. Also it would be just nice to have a holiday and a pint.
Christian Lavin, England

We are not the devout religious country who used to go to church every Sunday anymore. I would see it as double standards along with all the other religious holidays we have in the UK. I'm all for holidays but there must be better reasons for taking time off work?
A Trimby, UK

Personally I think that "saints days" are a load of tosh which dates back to the time when people actually believed in all that religious mumbo-jumbo. We should be trying to phase these things out, not introduce more of them. If they do introduce a St. David┐s Day holiday, I'll be happy to work on it and bill my clients a special rate for the privilege!
Pete Morgan-Lucas, UK

There has been an unfortunate trend, such as the Anne Robinson incident, for Wales to be regarded as the UK's Cinderella. The creation of a St. David's Day holiday, would be an appropriate bravado riposte.
Michael, Scotland

Definitely, As long as it doesn't increase my council tax !
Joe Jones, Wales

We are not the devout religious country who used to go to church every Sunday anymore. I would see it as double standards along with all the other religious holidays we have in the UK. I'm all for holidays but there must be better reasons for taking time off work?
A Trimby, UK

I would love to see a St David's, St Andrew's and St George's Day it would give us all a sense of togetherness and experience each other's culture in each part of the UK. Though the down side is that on St George's day and you carry a Cross of St George people call you racist. I find it very upsetting and I feel that bringing St George's day into the open would help to get rid of the racist over tones.
Christian Lavin, England

I think we should have national holidays for St David, St Andrew and St George. PS Has anyone dared tell the Irish that St Patrick was a Welshman?
Rhodri Evans, Wales


This has to be an important cultural day for Welsh identity. Linked with the day should be a variety of social and cultural events throughout the whole country

Des Curtis, Costa Rica
Personally I think that "saints days" are a load of tosh which dates back to the time when people actually believed in all that religious mumbo-jumbo. We should be trying to phase these things out, not introduce more of them. If they do introduce a St. David┐s Day holiday, I'll be happy to work on it and bill my clients a special rate for the privilege!
Pete Morgan-Lucas, UK

Certainly St David deserves a holiday. What about Andrew and George? And observed only in the region concerned.
R Miroy, USA

Absolutely YES. This has to be an important cultural day for Welsh identity. Linked with the day should be a variety of social and cultural events throughout the whole country. Wales should take this opportunity to recognise that it is a different country with different customs. There should also be civic days to represent events that have occurred in Welsh history. Wales and Welsh people need to become more aware of its incredible history.
Des Curtis, Costa Rica

We should have St David's Day as a bank holiday - Wales has so much history and we still have one of the oldest languages in Europe. It's a pity that we have to ask the government in Westminster, but I also think that the Scots and the English should also have a bank holiday for their saints as well.
Louise Baynham, Cymru

It seems crazy that shops in Wrexham (North Wales' premier town) sell cards for St Patrick's Day, whereas it is very difficult to get one for St David's Day. Anything to raise the profile of the Day in Wales is to be welcomed.
Nic Jones, North Wales

Yes, no question about it. I would also like to see a televised "state of the nation" address by the first minister on St David's day - something inspiring and non-political to lift our collective national spirit.
Jeff Crwys, England


Yes definitely. I always take it off. I tell my American boss it's a cultural must.

Gareth Hughes, U.S.A.
I am currently a Welsh student studying in the middle of England. On St David's day, I wore my Welsh flag around my waist, and then had questions from every person I met who wasn't welsh However, when it was St Patrick's day last Sunday, my Irish friends were wearing their flags and colours and they had no questions at all. I think that if St David┐s day were to become a holiday, then more people would be more aware of our culture, and not be so ignorant of our holidays.
Kelly Jones, Wales

Being a Welsh-Canadian I celebrate both St David's Day and Canada Day, which is July 1st. Here in Canada, our National holiday is a day off for the government and most businesses. Why not have a day off so people can come together in different events to celebrate their national pride?
Maria Jones, Canada

Yes, definitely, I think it should be a holiday and then the Welsh can concentrate on celebrating the same as the Irish. If we can make it an important day in Wales then it will be easier on us abroad to make people more aware of it in other countries. We watched on television how the Irish celebrated their special day - not one word was reported on how the Welsh celebrated St David's Day.
Beryl Duggan, Canada

Yes definitely. I always take it off. I tell my American boss it's a cultural must.
Gareth Hughes, U.S.A.

Why not? Let all the countries of the UK have their Saint days as a public holiday! It doesn't seem fair that the Northern Irish can celebrate St Patrick's and the rest of us can't. It's not about living in the past, it's about having pride in our heritage!!
Matt Morris, UK

In the same way that the English should have St George's day and the Scot's St Andrews day as Public Holidays then we Welsh can then claim St David's day as a holiday .I do not beleive we should take this step in isolation .
K Purcell, Wales

Yes anything for extra bank holidays! Most other Countries get a week of for Easter, what about us?
Laura D/J, UK

Any excuse for a party. I think we should have all four saints' days off and also declare a British National day to go with it. Let's also please our ethnic minorities and have Chinese New Year, Deepawali, Eid and Yom Kippur.
Phil T, Oman


Why can the Irish celebrate St Patrick's day, the Welsh, St. David's day, however if the English celebrate St George's day we are considered racist?

Caron, England
As a Welshman living in New Zealand I believe that St David┐s day should be declared a holiday, I go to all the ex-pats special days here the Irish in particular, surely we love our native land as much as the Irish and we should celebrate it
Bill N, New Zealand

The argument that Wales cannot have a public holiday on St David┐s Day because there is no call for one from the other constituent nations of the UK is a load of codswallop. Why do we have to go through Westminster anyway. Surely its a matter for Wales alone.
Huw Jackson, Cymru

Why can the Irish celebrate St Patrick's day, the Welsh, St. David's day, however if the English celebrate St George's day we are considered racist?
Caron, England

We are proud of our heritage and should be allowed our Saints' day as a public holiday. The Welsh flag should also be acknowledged, as there is no representation for Wales on the Union Flag.
Edward A. John, Wales

This is a load of nationalistic rubbish. I don't approve of anything that would drive the wedge between English, Scottish and Welsh in any further.
Simon Clarke, UK

We should at least have St George's day added to our Bank Holidays. It's about time we got a few more bank holidays bringing us into line with Europe. Australians get a bank holiday for the Queens Birthday how many Brits know when it is?
Greg, England

Surely the question should not be whether we do get a bank holiday but why we have to ask Westminster to allow us.
Steve, Cymru


Outside the UK is there any other country that does not celebrate its national day? Can one imagine France without Bastille Day or the US without the 4th July?

Madoc Batcup, Wales

I couldn't care less about St David's Day. It's just an excuse for the Welsh to carry on living in the past.
Graham Jones, Wales

Other countries may have more, but they follow the origins of the festival, and celebrate it on the actual day, so they don't get a free day off if it happens to fall at weekend - Germany's 11 bank holidays is not much better than our eight. But a free extra day? Perfect!
Keith, England

How many of those clamouring for a holiday are prepared to work it for those who want time off? Are you prepared to have no emergency services? Shops and pubs shut because the workers there want their time off. All the schoolchildren not attending in traditional dress because the schools are shut. Yes, let's celebrate it by going to work with our national emblems proudly in our buttonholes and a few drinks after work, but another day off for some means another day of hard work for others. When living in England, I wore my leek with pride, shared my Welshcakes with my English friends. You don't need a day off, just a good frame of mind
Dave, Cymru

Outside the UK is there any other country that does not celebrate its national day? Can one imagine France without Bastille Day or the US without the 4th July? The attitude of Westminster to St David's Day is nothing short of astonishing.
Madoc Batcup, Wales

More Welsh people celebrate St Patrick's Day than their own Saint's Day. It's about time we celebrated our own identity a little more, with a national holiday on March 1st (having said that, St. Patrick was Welsh anyway!)
Ian Titherington, Cymru

I've celebrated it every year since I read an account of the poets Dylan Thomas and Roy Campbell eating a vase of daisies together to mark the occasion.
Robert del Valle, USA


I think that St David's Day (in Wales) should be commemorated by a bank holiday - the National Assembly should have the power to grant this

Allan Evans, Wales

Having just had a Bank Holiday over here in Northern Ireland for St Patrick's Day, I definitely believe the Welsh should get St David's Day off. I remember the joys of St David's Day when I was in primary school - come into school all dressed up, have a concert, and go home at lunchtime. Even in secondary school 10-15 years ago, when we no longer got the half-day, St David's Day was always a special time for holding an eisteddfod.
Catherine Sharp, Welshwoman in Northern Ireland

If St. David's day is declared a public holiday it should not be at the expense of another existing public holiday. That would just make taking joint holidays with people from other parts of Britain more difficult unnecessarily.
Owain Vaughan, Newport, UK

Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland all have 10 Bank holidays. England and Wales has about the fewest public holidays in the World. If the Welsh Assembly wants this to happen, what right does Westminster to overrule our representatives?
Geoff Evans, Wales

I think that St. David's Day (in Wales) should be commemorated by a Bank Holiday - the National Assembly should have the power to grant this.
Allan Evans, Wales, UK

I think St David's, St Andrew's, St George's and St Patrick's days should all be public holidays. Also, we should have a day off to commemorate Yom Kippur and Ramadan.
Gerry, Scotland

No I think it's pointless. And Gerry in Scotland probably wouldn't want to 'celebrate' Ramadan - it's a fast and they're no fun.
Phil, UK

Only if we get a bank holiday on St George's Day in England.
Rob Thurgood, UK

Cool! What about St George's day?
Chris Barnett, UK in Germany

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15 Apr 01 | Wales
St David's Day holiday boost
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