Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Symbols of Wales, 1980 and 2015

004International rugby games encourage teams’ supporters to deck themselves with what they consider to be appropriate emblems of their nations.

A note in P-LA describes what supporters of the Welsh team wore for a match against England on 16 February 1980:

‘The essential item of clothing is, of course, a woollen scarf with stripes of the Welsh team’ colours, red and white.  Other items worn by supporters included flags depicting Welsh dragons, draped over the shoulders; and leeks [Allium porrum] and daffodils [Narcissus cvs].  Some supporters wore real leeks; one particularly well equipped individual wore a red-and-white scarf, a flag, and miner’s helmet with a leek attached to the back.  Some of the older men had miniature leeks made 010from knitting wool pinned to their lapels, and some groups of youngsters carried home-made leeks up to 3 or 4 feet high, made from white cardboard, green crêpe paper and other materials.’

35 years later, on 17 October 2015, Wales played South Africa at Twickenham, allowing observers to see how
the use of symbols has changed over the years.  In 1980, apart from their scarves and dragon flags, most of the symbols were home-made; in 2015, most of the symbols were mass-produced.  In 1980 the leek was the main plant emblem. 006 25 years later daffodils predominated.  Two individuals carried artificial leeks, and one woman wore an apparently home-made brooch which incorporated both leeks and daffodils.  Daffodil hats, which were sold from stalls along the route, were popular, and inflatable daffodils were also available, though less people bought these.

All photographs taken at Twickenham, London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, 17 October 2015.