Wales is famous for not only its large mountain ranges but also for its centuries of traditions many of which it holds tightly onto today. During a visit to Wales while admiring the grandiose sights of the well known Mount Snowdon or the Ogrow River that flows through one of Wales most prominent valleys you may be surprised to hear that most natives of the land still converse in the traditional Welsh language. You also may be surprised to see that Welsh tradition is strong and very much alive in its many annual festivities, celebrations, and male voice choirs.
Most notably, male choirs have been a centre point of Welsh musical culture dating back to the nineteenth century when coal miners often participated in male choirs and often practiced to pass the time spent down in the mines. Today many men still participate in choirs keeping the spirit of their respective towns strong while also picking up many national accolades along the way.
It is not uncommon to see many performances by male choirs posted around the towns of smaller Welsh villages and if time permits a trip to a choir performance is one that you will never forget. It is also an excellent chance to hear the Welsh language in its finest as many of the male choirs perform in the native Welsh tongue.
Although English is the predominant language of the region, the Welsh government requires that Welsh be taught in schools; hence you will see many official documents and signs that are printed in both English and Welsh side by side.
In fact, if you head out to ski at many of Wales mountain locations you will notice that most of the small ski resort villages have a variety of Welsh speakers granting visitors the unique chance to visit the locals in their own environment.
Festivals are another example of Welsh tradition that has survived amongst the years with the popular Saint David’s Day Celebration beckoning spring in on March 1st. The festival celebrates the patron saint of Wales and is filled with concerts, parades, and significant traditions such as wearing a leek symbol to show appreciation to Saint David and an old tongue-in-cheek defiance of the English.
Another common traditional celebration that has been held annually for many years is the Eisteddfod festival which is one of the largest festivals to be held throughout the country and is a large trade festival in which townspeople celebrate art, music, crafts, and performance.
The location varies by year but with eight days to partake in the fun there is always something there for everyone and it is great way to familiarize yourself with the Welsh heritage that the people of Wales hold so dearly.
Wales holds most tightly to its heritage in its national sport-cum-religion, rugby, which has been popular since the early nineteenth century. It initially began its reign as a popular club sport in colleges and has grown into a competitive league game that keeps the country of Wales enthralled on a regular nationally and internationally.