Why Leeks are The National Emblem of Wales


Wales, a country bordered by England, the Atlantic Ocean and the Irish sea, has two popular emblem or symbol—daffodil and leek.

Daffodil is a pretty flower so it is not surprising that it should be chosen to represent Wales, or any country for that matter.  But leek is a humble herb that pales in comparison when put beside daffodils.  Why was it chosen as one of the national emblem of Wales  since the 16th century?

There are several possible reasons.  It could be accounted to the battle that happened in Heathfield in 633 AD when King Cadwallader persuaded his soldiers to wear leeks in their caps.  This would help distinguish them distinguish their own soldiers from their opponents, the Saxons.  It was a battle which they have won.

Another reason could be linked with St. David and how it was believed that any maiden who sleeps with a leek under her pillow during St. David’s feast day would see her future husband in dreams.

Leeks are worn every year on the first day of March to commemorate St. David.  The humble herb is also worn during international rugby matches.  Welsh archers since the beginning of the 14th century have also adopted the colors green and white—the color of leeks—for their uniforms.

Leeks could also have become the national emblem of Wales because it has been a significant part of their diet during Lent since the days of the old.