The Leek and the Daffodil - an odd pair of national symbols

Daffodil nation symbol of Wales


The Leek

The connection between Wales and the leek is obscure.  Most authors trying to trace the link come up with one or other of the legends that show it was used by the Welsh as a cap badge in battle to show friend from foe

One version is that St David advised the Britons on the eve of a battle with the Saxons, to wear leeks in their caps so that they could easily distinguish friend from foe. This apparently helped to secure a great victory.

Another version has the same thing happening at the Battle of Agincourt, when Welsh archers fought with Henry V against the French. The leeks in their caps distinguished them from their enemies

In any event the leek is firmly associated with the Welsh today. Leeks are worn on St David's Day. It is still a surviving tradition that soldiers in the Welsh regiments eat a raw leek on St David's Day.

The Daffodil

If the link between the leek and the Welsh is obscure, how about the Daffodil. Possibly   the reason  why the daffodil is used as an emblem is that the word for daffodil and for leek are the same in Welsh  (Cenhinen = Leek, Cenhinen Pedr = Daffodil). This confusion means that both have been adopted as national emblems.

It is said by some that the daffodil is encouraged more by the English government, as it does not have the nationalistic overtones that the leek has, with its association with the defeat of Saxons.

Such is the way history is made

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