Category Archives: St. David’s Day

Annual St. David’s Day Lunch 2018

Two delightful speakers graced the podium at the 2018 St. David’s Day luncheon of the Welsh Society of Western New England. Helen Coates of the Copper Kettle Bakery described her journey from LLantwit Major
in the Vale of Glamorgan, watching her
Members and guests at the luncheon mum make Welsh Cakes, to Westwood, Massachusetts, where her dream of a bakery took shape. She began some years ago baking Welsh Cakes in her home kitchen, delivering daily to local stores, and now has commercial production with online sales and distribution worldwide of 4 varieties. The freshly-made samples which she brought were simply delicious, and the make-your-own mixes were eagerly taken by everyone to try at home. Her determination to succeed and her affinity for Wales inspired us all, and we are so proud of her.

Professor Margaret Lloyd of Springfield College presented a fascinating introduction to the Mabinogi Tales of medieval Wales, telling of the mythical woman Rhiannon who travels from the Otherworld on a white horse in search of her prince Pwyll. She finds him and they are married, but after their child is abducted, Rhiannon heroically accepts punishment herself to spare the lives of her midwives. Professor Lloyd reflects on Rhiannon as a noble woman of stature and strength in her beautiful series of poems recently
Beth Roberts Brown in National Dress published in Wales. Her passionate readings of several excerpts enthralled the audience, bringing alive the power, pathos, and relevance of these oldest of Welsh myths. Travelling on My Own Errands – Voices of Women from the Mabinogi, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch, Llanwrst, March 2017.

Host for the annual luncheon, held this year on Saturday, March 3rd, was the lovely Nutmeg Restaurant in East Windsor, Connecticut, with about 40 in attendance. Society president Susan Davies Sit opened the meeting with greetings from other Welsh societies from around North America, reviewed
Speakers: Helen Coates on the left with John Bollard and Margaret Lloyd on the right. the many activities of the past year, and introduced new members. The society is growing, enthusiasm is high, and the Welsh in the area are in good company. Come join us!
By Mark Spencer, Member.

Members with Beth Roberts Brown in Welsh National Dress

Members with Beth Roberts Brown in Welsh National Dress

Ed Brown in a Slate Quarryman's outfit with member Mark Spencer

Ed Brown in a Slate Quarryman’s outfit with member Mark Spencer

Speaker Helen Coates of the Copper Kettle Bakery

Speaker Helen Coates of the Copper Kettle Bakery

WSWNE President Susan Davies Sit, with our Welsh map of members' Welsh roots.

WSWNE President Susan Davies Sit, with our Welsh map of members’ Welsh roots.

Speaker Margaret Lloyd of NY, who read her book of poetry about Women in the Mabinogi

Speaker Margaret Lloyd of NY, who read her book of poetry about Women in the Mabinogi

St. David’s Day Luncheon 2017

unspecifiedMembers and guests of the Welsh Society of Western New England gathered at the Nutmeg restaurant in East Windsor, CT to celebrate the life of their Welsh patron saint, St. David on March 4, 2017.

The society welcomed many new members and guests to the event and whilst sampling appetizers from the food table they reminisced about good times and fond memories of their love for Wales and the Welsh culture while perusing the various displays and the information table. Many guests purchased souvenirs, books and Welsh items from the merchandise table. There was a silent auction for a framed cross-stitch of Welsh daffodils in a pot with the inscription “Dydd Gwyl Dewi”, hand-made by member Janet Taylor.  Looking absolutely fantastic were Ed and Beth Brown dressed in traditional Welsh costumes, greeting and posing with guests for photographs.
St. David's Day Luncheon 2017The event was opened with a video message from the First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones. A prayer, by Mark Spencer, followed this.
Following the luncheon was a presentation by the guest speakers Illtyd and Dominic Barrett, owners of “Sunken Hundred (Cantre’r Gwaelod)” restaurant in Brooklyn, New York.  Illtyd & Dominic presented a fascinating look at their life growing up in Wales and their life ventures leading up to the creation of a unique Welsh food based restaurant in New York City. Their presentation was both incredibly interesting and often very funny and kept their audience glued to their every word.  Their journey and their creation of Sunken Hundred demonstrated their love of Wales, Welsh culture and Welsh foods and the Society wishes both Illtyd and Dominic the very best luck in the future.
IMG_4125The Annual General Meeting, including the vote to elect the Board of Directors for the forthcoming year, followed the presentation.
Next on the agenda was a Welsh quiz hosted by Magdalen Dowden. Participants had to answer questions based on Wales, Welsh history and Welsh people.  Polo shirt prizes donated by “Fly2Wales” were handed out to the three winners. This was a huge success, all participants having a great time.
Congratulations to all the raffle winners, and to Mary Pallos for being the highest bidder in the auction for the cross-stitch.
The day was brought to a close with the singing of the Welsh National Anthem “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”
WSWNE Board 2017-2018Huge thank you to Susan Davies Sit and the organizing team, Illtyd and Dominic Barrett and all the staff at the Nutmeg Restaurant and to all the attending members and guests for creating a truly memorable day – Diolch !

St. David’s Day 2016

St. David's DaffodilsThe Welsh Society of Western New England celebrated St. David’s Day: Everyone enjoyed Welsh music, culture, the Welsh language and very importantly each other’s company.

Member Leslie Spencer gave a wonderful presentation of “Wales – Land of Song: A look at the choral tradition from yesteryear to today.” Beginning with a tribute to St. David, she reviewed events that have shaped the magnificent musical traditions of Wales, and included photos of her own travels in Wales, including a visit to a mine and how singing relieved the stresses of the harsh conditions. You can watch a video of her presentation on our website.

Revelers at St. David's DayWe listened to Carwyn Jones, the First Minister of Wales deliver his video message to us all, enjoyed a delicious lunch at the Nutmeg Restaurant in East Windsor, CT, shopped at the Welsh merchandize table, won baskets of Welsh goodies, sang the National Anthem and then found it hard to leave.

Susan Davies Sit

WSWNE celebrates St. David’s Day!

St. David’s Day Celebrated in Connecticut

by Leslie Spencer

St. David’s Day was celebrated with gusto in East Windsor, Connecticut this past

Ed & Beth Brown with Sherry Williams

March 7th by the Welsh Society of Western New England.  The Nutmeg Restaurant was the lovely setting for the Welsh gathering, lunch, annual business meeting of WSWNE, and excellent talk and slide presentation on the history of Plaid Cymru by board member Shirley Gilmartin.  A large bouquet of daffodils graced the entrance, as did welcoming words and embraces.  Susan Davies Sit, president of the society, had recently returned from Wales and had brought back gifts, including a child’s rugby ball, that were all part of the Welsh “Tea cup” auction.  Other items including Welsh notecards, Welsh flag tee shirts and bags were also available for purchase.  A large map of Wales was on display with pins showing the origins of members’ Welsh roots and members delighted in sharing their Welsh roots with others.  And Ed and Beth Brown added a delightful presence dressed in traditional Welsh clothing.  He wore slate quarry miners work clothes and cap, and she with long country dress, apron, and tall black hat, still traditionally seen in Wales by women on St. David’s Day.  Amid lively conversation The Nutmeg prepared a delicious lunch starting with leek soup, a choice of entree, accompanied by bottles of Llanllyr Source spring water from West Wales.

Shirley Gilmartin delivers a presentation

Shirley Gilmartin’s talk was riveting as she shared from the book Gwynfor Evans, Portrait of a Patriot, by Rhys Evans, and also of her personal involvement during the resurgence of Welsh nationalism as a youth growing up in Wales. She also shared the emotionally charged story of the flooding of the Tryweryn Valley and the role Plaid Cymru played as well as its role in the establishment of a Welsh language TV channel S4C and Radio Cymru.

The warmth of old friends and new ones made, gave this annual tradition a special day to remember.  We closed with the singing of the Welsh national anthem and as always, look forward to future Welsh gatherings.

St. David’s Day with WSWNE

By Glyn Dowden

The annual St. David’s Day Gathering of the Welsh Society of Western New England (WSWNE) was held on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at the Nutmeg restaurant in East Windsor, CT.

From Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and even as far away as New Hampshire there was a gathering of 45 Welsh, or partly Welsh, or vaguely Welsh souls in attendance.  With an energetic clink of a glass WSWNE president Susan Sit kicked things off with p’nawn da. We then watched a brief video of Carwyn Jones the First Minister of Wales. In his St David’s Day message Carwyn, who has made something of a reputation for himself with the English by always claiming, quite rightly some would say, that London is to blame for all that is untoward in Wales, wished everyone a happy St David’s Day. “Dydd Gwyl Dewi hapus i bawb.”

Jason Ellsworth then delivered a prayer and paraphrased part of a poem by Brian Harris; to be Welsh is to be born privileged with music in your heart and poetry in your soul.

This set the right mood for the afternoon so that we could all settle down to eat and drink. Needless to say, even though Saint David with a white dove on his shoulder, thought that monks should pull the ploughs without draught animals, drink only water and eat only bread with salt and herbs, and he taught that his followers should refrain from eating meat and drinking beer, we ignored all that and a good time. Some eating fish, some meat or chicken and others the pasta. By the time we had finished the last main course, ice cream and coffee we had also enjoyed sharing our history, stories and pleasantries with each other across the table. Most conversations revolved around Welsh heritage, but because of the melting pot of America we had a scattering of Welshness from all different peoples with connections to countries such as Italy, Ireland, England, Germany etc. On our table we had Dewi Joslin Snr., his Italian wife Diane and Dewi Joslin Jnr. who had travelled all the way from New Hampshire to celebrate with us. Dewi’s mother had been born and lived in Conwy, Wales. Also Valerie, a chapter president of the DAR and whose family were Mormons in Wales. She told us about her experience as a member of “The Society of Descendants of Lady Godiva” (who could have believed there was one of these in the US). Such were the many convivial conversations that took place.

Susan quickly dispensed with Annual Board matters with a minor modification to our by laws and the voting in of the same Board members.

Bob Bolgard WSWNE treasurer provided a summary of the finances and assured us that were we were solvent.

Sherry Williams our vice president thanked those of us who attended the lunch and expressed her delight at being able to celebrate Saint Davids day.

Then it was down to presentations:

Sherry described the Welsh Dragon while holding up a steel copy of the Y Ddraig Goch. Apparently the red dragon represents a fierce warrior. The story being; the red dragon overcame the white dragon which was the Saxon invader.

Our speakers on St. David's Day.

The four speakers at our event: Trey McCain, Sherry Williams, Shirley Keifer and Magdalen Dowden.

Magdalen Dowden told us all about the Welsh National Anthem “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” which was composed by Evan James in 1856 in Pontypridd. Apparently ever since its introduction the English have protested that “God Save The Queen” is the national anthem of the UK and all four of its constituent countries. The Welsh of course pay no attention to this and “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” can be heard at all major pubic events in Wales or where ever the welsh are representing their country.

Trey McCain revealed how the leek and daffodil became national emblems. The leak being the first emblem. According to folklore it could protect you from lightning and was worn in battle since it could protect you from harm (and who’s to say it didn’t). Anyway the battle of Crecy where Welsh bowmen came to the fore was fought in a leak field and according to Shakespeare Henry V wore, or had a leak. The daffodil “Cennin Pedr” or Peter’s Leak on the other hand has a shorter history. This national emblem was, for who knows what reason, vigorously promoted by Lloyd George. As an aside it turns out that daffodils produce Galan amine compound which is used to slow the effects of Alzheimer’s. We always knew the Welsh were smarter than the average.

Shirley Kiefer entertained us with two lovely stories about mythic Salmon. The first with an Irish setting and the other in Wales. According to legend and Shirley there is a good chance that salmon can change an Irishman into somebody like James Bond and a Welshman into a Bard.

Sherry then mentioned the upcoming auction that we were planning and Magdalen instantly offered up her husband but fortunately there were no takers.

We closed with the Welsh National Anthem all singing in the Welsh language and looked forward to next time when we would celebrate the culture and memories of Wales.