Welsh Culture Essay

Welsh Culture Essay

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The population of Wales is overwhelmingly white European. Welsh people have fair skin and hair, and are known for their singing voices. Choirs are a large part of the country’s artistic and social environment. The population is heavily distributed in the southern half of the country, near Swansea and the capitol city, Cardiff. Wales is a country on the European continent, located on the western side of the island of Great Britain. As one of the four nations under the United Kingdom of Great Britain, Wales is not a member of the European Union.

The country is technically a principality, though its people, the Welsh, generally ignore this title due to the fact that the prince has no active role in the nation’s political affairs. (Means 1) A Brief Examination of Welsh History The people of Wales place great value on legends and mythology. These elements are highly visible in education and the arts, especially. The national symbol of Wales is the Red Dragon, which appears on the Welsh flag. Wales is often associated with Arthurian legends and medieval culture.

(Means 5) Being a Protestant nation, Wales celebrates the same Christian holidays as the rest of Great Britain. However, there are certain events called festivals, which are specific to Wales. A festival called Eisteddfod has been celebrated for centuries. The day is arranged as a competition between poets and musicians, who perform for large crowds. A group of people called the Gored of Bards is chosen to award the competitors with prizes for their artistic contributions to the festival. (Means 3) Examining Welsh Culture in Present Times The number of Welsh speaking people has declined since 1901.

A man by the name of Hywel conveys that he has been conversing in the language of his fatherland since the age of eleven. Today, at the age of 57, he believes that any endeavor to revitalize the language would be great. Halpert expresses a quote from Hywel, “We’ve got to keep it. It’s part of our heritage, isn’t it? Even if we don’t use it. I’m not a nationalist, but I’m all for keeping the language. ” (Halpert 3) To a certain extent the reintroduction of the Welsh vernacular actually separates the country. Jobs, such as news broadcasting, or working in museums demand that they speak Welsh.

This fact generates it own problems, because people who don’t speak Welsh are of the opinion that they are being discriminated against. The majority of the population go on with their lives for the most part unaffected, nevertheless, they do agree that political and cultural changes may leave a deep impression. At the present time, Wales’ individuality, and whether they will prevail are left up to the Welsh to decide. The lasting effects of the Assembly and the attempts to regain the nation’s cultural heritage have yet to be brought into light. However, as each St.

David’s Day draws near, the citizens of Wales pay their respects to their national honor, providing that at least, Welsh loyalty blossoms. Examining Welsh Religion Ireland has Saint Patrick, Scotland claims Saint Andrew, and England has Saint George. Wales reveres its patron, Saint David, whose voice is said to have thundered out the Gospel message, his robes swirling, as he waded up to his chin in icy waters as penance. The sixth-century monk, abbot, and bishop was one of the earliest missionaries to spread Christianity among the pagan Celtic tribes of western Europe, and the Welsh cultural connection to his legacy runs deep.

(Halpert 1) St. David’s feast day goes back to 1120, when he was canonized by Pope Calixtus II on March the 1st. , which is now embraced in their church calendar. In the present day, spirited singing, dancing and reciting galas take place throughout Wales. The country even sends male choirs to the United States, to entertain and rejoice on St. David’s day. But not everything is hunky-dory in regards to Welsh religion. In an influential article James (2005) reports: The Cardiff City Council cancelled a civic reception for internationally renowned evangelist Luis Palau because of his “extreme evangelical beliefs.

” The cancellation was prompted by Welsh Assembly Government Member Lorraine Barrett’s attack on Palau for his stance on homosexuality and other religions. “To fund such an event for a figure who holds extreme views on sensitive social issues is, in my opinion, a terrible way of spending public money,” Barrett says, and then adds, “I am very concerned at some of the views espoused by Mr. Palau, which are very narrow and critical of anyone who does not follow his evangelical beliefs. I think he is a right-wing reactionary individual. I also think it is dodgy mixing religion and politics in this way.

I think he and people like Billy Graham exploit vulnerable people. ” Examining Welsh Customs of Today There are many points of leisure pursuits for tourists who want to explore Wales, consisting of the world renowned Stonehenge, as well as 100 castles, and the remains of Roman forts and many museums. Additional lures comprise of historical railways that were a part of the mining industry, back in the day. In a commentary by Means (2006), he articulates: The Swansea Festival of Music and Arts is Wales’ largest public arts festival. The performances include music, poetry, drama, dance, and literature readings.

Although it is deeply rooted in traditional form of art, Wales is considered very modern in terms of its contemporary art and music. There are as many famous rock bands from Wales as there are also choirs. So as far as institutions and customs go, what are the Welsh’s favorite pastime? Football (soccer) and cricket are just a few of the practiced sports in Wales. But the most widely held spectator sport, without a doubt, would have to be rugby. However, if full contact games aren’t your cup of tea, Wales also indulges in other activities, such as: mountain climbing, hiking, recreational fishing and hunting.

Being a Protestant nation, Wales celebrates the same Christian holidays as the rest of Great Britain. However, there are certain events, called festivals which are specific to Wales. As already mentioned earlier in this thesis, a festival called the Eisteddfod has been celebrated for centuries. The day is arranged as a competition between poets and musicians, who perform for large crowds. (Means 3) As stated earlier in this dissertation the patron saint of Wales is Saint David. His day is commemorated on March the 1st. In honor of him the Welsh wear leeks on their heads or in their hats. Leeks stand for a symbol of Welsh custom.

The practice comes from superstition and folklore regarding the remembrance of Saint David. Welsh customs have also induced choir music, as one of the nation’s renowned art forms. In fact, The Welsh Opera House stages vocal performances and dramatic works on a nightly basis. As far as education goes, the significance of the national tongue is stressed in Wales’ education systems. It is also mandatory that all youths between the ages of 5 to 16 must attend school. The literacy rate in Wales is an impressive 99 percent. In regards to food, most of Welsh cuisine is the creation of the nation’s agriculture.

Apart from the typical British diet, which includes lamb, pork and poultry, Wales offers some very unique dishes, such as Cawl, a soup made solely of vegetables, and laver bread, which is prepared from seaweed. The most popular beverage in Wales is their beer, which is brewed in many of the Welsh towns and municipalities. When it comes to art and entertainment a common nickname for Wales is “Gwiady y Gan,” which when translated, signifies, “Land of Song. ” This is largely due to the fact that Wales has contributed a large amount of music and poetry to popular culture. Welsh poems are some of the most significant in Western writing.

Some of the most noteworthy Welsh poets comprise of Geoffrey of Monmouth, who composed the ancient legendary poems of King Arthur, as well as the twentieth-century poet Dylan Thomas. In present times, Wales’ world of arts and entertainment have given us such entertainers as singer Tom Jones, actor Anthony Hopkins, and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones. In conclusion, Wales’ ethnicity is varied to say the least. All divisions of the arts are well represented in Wales’ two languages. The country offers galleries, theatres, museums, concert halls and libraries. Wales also hosts and supports many cultural activities.

From the conventional to the contemporary; from the deep-seated to the cutting edge; from an inward-looking search for countrywide distinctiveness and art-forms to the increasing influence and presence of multi-ethnic ideas and practices, Wales has so much to offer. At the risk of sounding like a tourism ad, Wales is a country that you just have to visit. It ‘s surrounded with countless amounts of fascinations, such as the Ewe-Phoria, Corwen, which bestows an enthralling insight into the work of the shepard and his sheepdog. Another allure is the 7. 25 mile long Talyllyn Railway, which opened in 1865.

And last but not least, as a tourist, another welcoming attraction is the Trefiw Woollen Mills, which manufactures traditional Welsh tapestry. So, the next time you plan a vacation, give Wales and its’ people a chance to astound you. You won’t regret it.

Works Cited

Halpert. Jane H. “On Being Welsh. ” World & I Mar. 2001: 152 James. Rob. “Extreme’ Orthodoxy. ” Christianity Today Jan. 2005: 22-22 Means. Richard. Our World: Wales 2006: 1-6 Sapiro. Michael. “Somewhere Beyond Time. ” National Geographic Traveler May. 2006: 94-103 Patton. Allyson. “Hands Across the Sea: St. David’s Societies. ” British Heritage. Jul. 2006: 10-56


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