Sunday 13 October 2019

The Welsh: Cultures of the World

Welsh people refer to the people from Wales and also the people of Welsh ancestry who are perceived to be sharing cultural heritage and ancestral origin.

The Welsh people are a nation and an ethnic group native to Wales. The Welsh language belongs to the Insular Celtic family and has historically been spoken mostly in Wales. The origin of the Welsh nation can be traced to the late 4th and early 5th century after the departure of the Romans. Welsh people refer to the people from Wales and also the people of Welsh ancestry who are perceived to be sharing cultural heritage and ancestral origin. Wales in itself is a country that forms part of the United Kingdom with the majority of the people being British citizens.

The Welsh people have a distinctive culture including their own language, customs, beliefs, holidays, music, and cuisine. The Welsh culture has endured despite the series of invasions, absorption into Great Britain, and mass arrival of non-Welsh residents. The Welsh language has played a key role in the promotion of the Welsh culture. Key to the Welsh culture is the folk tradition of poetry and music that continues to promote the Welsh language to date. The Welsh scholars and intellectuals in the past centuries published extensively on the Welsh culture which has been handed down to the new generation.


The development of cities and towns in Wales did not begin until the era of industrialization in the 1700s. The rural areas are characterized by older, traditional, and whitewashed stone buildings. Successful settlements and villages have grown into political and economic centers while some villages have become the center of rural society, especially southern and eastern Wales. The timber-framed houses emerged in the Middle Age, first from the north then to the rest of Wales. In the late 16th century, houses began to vary in sizes and refinement reflecting a significant growth in the middle class. The land owner began to build brick houses that reflected the vernacular style that was popular in England then. The industrialization period in the 18th century led to the urban growth that was characterized by the imitation of English architecture. Currently, most of the homes in Wales are owner-occupied.


Welsh cuisine is said to be similar to English with slight regional variations that can be traced historically to the availability of certain types of food. Cawl is considered the Welsh national dish - it is a slow-cooked combination of meat and vegetables. It was a traditionally vegetable-heavy dish but meat has since been included. Cheese is a common ingredient used in cooking several traditional dishes including Glamorgan sausage. The cakes are made of bakestone, sultanas, and currants. The Welsh consider beer as their national drink. The production of Whisky in Wales is also historically a niche industry.

Cultural Significance

Generally, Welsh culture has a direct impact on the way of life and the interaction in the country. The Welsh language has historically been spoken in most parts of Wales and the UK. It remains a predominant language in some parts of the country. The Welsh festivals of Calan Mai, Calan Awst, and Calenning are some of the most celebrated traditional festivals throughout Wales. Some of the festivals such as St David’s Day have been proposed to be considered as a public holiday. The Welsh Music has often promoted the country on international levels with Wales commonly referred to as the "Land of songs".


The decline in the number of Welsh speakers in rural areas is attributed to the movement of non-Welsh speaking population to the area. Most of the Welsh people are also adopting English as their main language with the majority in South Wales preferring to speak English to Welsh. The linguistic decline has been witnessed in most part of the country despite the increase in Welsh-language nursery education. Socialization with other cultures, especially English and Irish culture has reduced the popularity of the Welsh culture outside of Wales. The adoption of the modern western culture, especially in art and music is significantly weakening the Welsh culture.

By John Misachi

•culled from

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