Happy St David’s Day from Brasenose! In the most recent instalment of our spring term’s cultural observances, Brasenose students enjoyed a bilingual St David’s Day formal dinner, commemorating the patron saint of Wales. St David’s Day itself, usually celebrated on 1st March, was busy with the Sports Dinner, so students had to wait until the following week for their college-based celebrations, allowing those particularly keen to attend various university-wide festivities, including a Welsh chapel service at Jesus College.
It was an event perfectly timed to offer warmth in the days following the worst that Beast from the East had to offer. Tickets sold out within minutes and the Dining Hall and Medieval Kitchen were filled with students admiring the daffodils and dreaming of spring (which would not arrive for at least another month).
The grace – usually read in Latin at the beginning of formal dinners – was instead of a traditional Welsh variety, read by Fleur Snow and borrowed from Kellogg College where the grace is apparently always read in Welsh. A small committee of Welsh background students had been collaborating for weeks behind the scenes on the meticulous translation of a three-course menu.
A particular highlight of the meal was the feature of second desserts, something not found at your average formal dinner. Shortly following the pudding, huge trays of Welsh cakes and bara brith were passed around, accompanied with butter, cream and jam. Despite a hint of confusion over which condiments belonged with what, all the food seemed to be thoroughly enjoyed and everyone was left pleasantly replete. For those like myself who grew up (at least partly) in Wales, it was lovely to see such Welsh delicacies getting the attention and appreciation they deserve and yet so rarely receive in the context of Oxford.
Heading down the bar after dinner, Julie our lovely bar manager provided exclusive Welsh beverages such as Penderyn Myth Whiskey and Brecon Five Black Vodka. An array of positive reviews of the evening could be overheard, perhaps the most profound coming from Tomos Sion: “IT WAS FAB, thanks Manish!”
Diolch yn fawr to Manish for all his hard work in organising this special evening and making Welsh students at Brasenose feel at home on St David’s Day.
by Miriam Cakebread (1st Year French and Arabic student)