S’mae a chroeso i Gymru!
Hello and welcome to Wales!
We hope and trust you find this land as wonderful and magical as we do.
Wales, although only being an entity as an actual nation for about a millennium, has always been a place of magic, myth, story and song. A land of friendship and company.
The name of our nation, in our own language, is Cymru – meaning land of fellow compatriots.
We believe that our land is very special – as have millions of people who have visited us across countless centuries.
We are so proud of our country that we regularly tell (and conjure up) stories about what’s happened here. We write poetry and sing songs that tell of brave men and women who fought to defend this land. We write about loss and of sadness. We write about failure. Don’t ask – we just do!
One of the things that ensures we remain a distinct nation in a quickly-evolving world is our language. We are extremely proud of the fact that, over the course of some 2,000 years, the people of England, Cornwall and Wales have all spoken a language that is still spoken here today.
The last national census showed that the number of Cymraeg (Welsh) speakers had fallen in Wales to 19% of the population. Even though some 40% of children here receive their education through the medium of Welsh and that there are nearly 200,000 speakers outside Wales in England, Cornwall and Scotland, the fact the number has fallen in the last 10 years worries a great many of us – Welsh-speaking or not.
We love our distinct cultures too. We love dressing up and eating griddle-fried ‘cakes’ on the first day of March. We like to remember our rebellious national hero, Owain Glyndŵr, in mid-September. We also like to remember our last native prince (Llywelyn ein Llyw Olaf) in December and enjoy putting up a giant pink tent every year in early August. We even celebrate new year when the rest of the western world celebrates Hallowe’en!
And we think you’d love all this too!
Some people find it hard to understand why we care so much about our language, culture, heritage and tradition. I guess it’s because their own language and traditions have never battled with the threat of disappearing or of being forgotten. We pray that this never happens to the traditions that people of this land have looked after against all the odds for many, many years. We’d hate to be the generation that forgot what it meant to be Welsh.
When people speak of “keeping a welcome in the hillside,” it is not just for those who consider themselves Welsh. It is for anyone and everyone. We genuinely hope that you find in Wales what we too find so wonderful.
All we humbly ask, is that you have a go of wrapping your tongue around some of our native-British words and phrases – we really appreciate everyone who gives it a try. We ask that you start your conversations with ‘S’MAE’ (hi) and end them with ‘DIOLCH’ (thanks). It’s NEVER too late to pick up and use a few phrases.
We pray that you read or ask about our culture and throw yourself into what it means to live in such a fantastic place.
And once again, we hope you find this patch as heart-warming as we feel about it.
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
Ac, unwaith eto, croeso i Gymru!