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The Britons, a Celtic tribe, who first settled in the area that is now Wales, had already begun to identify themselves as a distinct culture by the sixth century C. The word "Cymry," referring to the country, first appeared in a poem dating from By C. The words "Wales" and "Welsh" are Saxon in origin and were used by the invading Germanic tribe to denote people who spoke a different language. The Welsh sense of identity has endured despite invasions, absorption into Great Britain, mass immigration, and, more recently, the arrival of non-Welsh residents. Language has played a significant role in contributing to the sense of unity felt by the Welsh; more than the other Celtic languages, Welsh has maintained a significant number of speakers. During the eighteenth century a literary and cultural rebirth of the language occurred which further helped to solidify national identity and create ethnic pride among the Welsh.

With the rise of the Welsh kingdoms, land ownership was controlled by the kings who granted their subjects tenure. Because of the scattered and relatively small population of Wales, however, most people lived on isolated farms or in small villages.

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After the Act of Union with England, the king granted land to the nobility and later, with the rise of a middle class, the Welsh gentry had the economic power to purchase small tracts of land. Most Welsh people were peasant farmers who either worked the land for landowners or were tenant farmers, renting small patches of land.

The advent of the industrial revolution caused a radical change in the economy and farmworkers left the countryside in large numbers to seek work in urban areas and coal mines. Industrial workers rented living quarters or, sometimes, were provided with factory housing. Today, land ownership is more evenly distributed throughout the population although there are still large privately owned tracts of land. A new awareness of environmental issues has led to the creation of national parks and protected wildlife zones.

Jan 23,   The Welsh patron saint of lovers lived in the fifth century and, at her convent on Llanddwyn off the coast of Anglesey, it was said that the eels in . Central to Welsh culture is the centuries-old folk tradition of poetry and music which has helped keep the Welsh language alive. Welsh intellectuals in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries wrote extensively on the subject of Welsh culture, promoting the language as . So if you're dating someone from Wales, you can guarantee that you're not going to be bored, and it's easy to see why so many have fallen for the charms of a Welsh suitor Welsh People Love FoodAuthor: Sara Weir.

The Welsh Forestry Commission has acquired land formerly used for pasture and farming and initiated a program of reforestation. Major Industries. Heavy industry, such as mining and other activities associated with the port of Cardiff, once the busiest industrial port in the world, declined in the last part of the twentieth century.

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The Welsh Office and Welsh Development Agency have worked to attract multinational companies to Wales in an effort to restructure the nation's economy. Unemployment, higher on average in the rest of the United Kingdom, is still a concern.

Industrial growth in the late twentieth century was concentrated mostly in the area of science and technology. The Royal Mint was relocated to Llantrisant, Wales inhelping create a banking and financial services industry. Manufacturing is still the largest Welsh industry, with financial services in second place, followed by education, health and social services, and wholesale and retail trade. Mining accounts for only 1 percent of the gross domestic product.

Integrated with the economy of the United Kingdom, Wales has important trade relations with other regions in Britain and with Europe. Agricultural products, electronic equipment, synthetic fibers, pharmaceuticals, and automotive parts are the principal exports. The most important heavy industry is the refining of imported metal ore to produce tin and aluminum sheets. The Principality of Wales is governed from Whitehall in London, the name of the administrative and political seat of the British government.

Increasing pressure from Welsh leaders for more autonomy brought devolution of administration in Maymeaning that more political power has been given to the Welsh Office in Cardiff.

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The position of secretary of state for Wales, a part of the British prime minister's cabinet, was created in In a referendum a proposal for the creation of a nonlegislating Welsh Assembly was rejected but in another referendum passed by a slim margin, leading to the creation of the National Assembly for Wales.

The assembly has sixty members and is responsible for setting policy and creating legislation in areas regarding education, health, agriculture, transportation, and social services. A general reorganization of government throughout the United Kingdom in included a simplification of Welsh administration with smaller districts regrouped to form larger constituencies for economic and political reasons.

Wales was reorganized into eight new counties, from thirteen originally, and within the counties thirty-seven new districts were created. Leadership and Political Officials. Wales has always had strong left wing and radical political parties and leaders. There is also a strong political awareness throughout Wales and voter turnout at elections is higher on average than in the United Kingdom as a whole.

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In most of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries the Liberal Party dominated Welsh politics with the industrial regions supporting the Socialists. In the Welsh Nationalist Party, known as Plaid Cymru, was founded with the intention of gaining independence for Wales as a region within the European Economic Community.

Between World Wars I and II severe economic depression caused almostWelsh to immigrate and a new political activism was born with an emphasis on social and economic reform. Wales is surrounded by water on three sides. In the s and s Conservatives gained even more control, a trend that was reversed in the s with the return of Labor dominance and the increased support for Plaid Cymru and Welsh nationalism.

The Welsh separatist, nationalist movement also includes more extremist groups who seek the creation of a politically independent nation on the basis of cultural and linguistic differences. The Welsh Language Society is one of the more visible of these groups and has stated its willingness to use civil disobedience to further its goals.

Military Activity. Wales does not have an independent military and its defense falls under the authority of the military of the United Kingdom as a whole. There are, however, three army regiments, the Welsh Guards, the Royal Regiment of Wales, and the Royal Welch Fusiliers, that have historical associations with the country. Health and social services fall under the administration and responsibility of the secretary of state for Wales. The Welsh Office, which works with the county and district authorities, plans and executes matters relating to housing, health, education, and welfare.

Terrible working and living conditions in the nineteenth century brought significant changes and new policies regarding social welfare that continued to be improved upon throughout the twentieth century. Issues regarding health care, housing, education, and working conditions, combined with a high level of political activism, have created an awareness of and demand for social change programs in Wales. The Relative Status of Women and Men.

Historically, women had few rights, although many worked outside the home, and were expected to fulfill the role of wife, mother, and, in the case of unmarried women, caregiver to an extended family. In agricultural areas women worked alongside male family members. When the Welsh economy began to become more industrialized, many women found work in factories that hired an exclusively female workforce for jobs not requiring physical strength.

Women and children worked in mines, putting in fourteen-hour days under extremely harsh conditions. Legislation was passed in the mid-nineteenth century limiting the working hours for women and children but it was not until the beginning of the twentieth century that Welsh women began to demand more civil rights.

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The Women's Institute, which now has chapters throughout the United Kingdom, was founded in Wales, although all of its activities are conducted in English. In the s another organization, similar to the Women's Institute but exclusively Welsh in its goals, was founded. Known as the Merched y Wawr, or Women of the Dawn, it is dedicated to promoting the rights of Welshwomen, the Welsh language and culture, and organizing charitable projects.

Child Rearing and Education. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries children were exploited for labor, sent into mines to work in shafts that were too small for adults. Child and infant mortality rates were high; almost half of all children did not live past the age of five, and only half of those who lived past the age of ten could hope to live to their early twenties.

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Social reformers and religious organizations, particularly the Methodist Church, advocated for improved public education standards in the mid-nineteenth century. Conditions began to gradually improve for children when working hours were restricted and compulsory education enacted. The Education Act of passed to enforce basic standards, but also sought to banish Welsh completely from the education system.

Today, primary and nursery schools in areas with a Welsh-speaking majority provide instruction completely in Welsh and schools in areas where English is the first language offer bilingual instruction. The Welsh Language Nursery Schools Movement, Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin Cymraeg, founded inhas been very successful in creating a network of nursery schools, or Ysgolion Meithrin, particularly in regions where English is used more frequently.

Nursery, primary, and secondary schools are under the administration of the education authority of the Welsh Office.

Low-cost, quality public education is available throughout Wales for students of all ages. Higher Education. Most institutions of higher learning are publicly supported, but admission is competitive. The Welsh literary tradition, a high literacy rate, and political and religious factors have all contributed to shaping a culture where higher education is considered important. Adult continuing education courses, particularly those in Welsh language and culture, are strongly promoted through regional programs.

Religious Beliefs. Religion has played a significant role in the shaping Welsh culture. On the eve of the English Civil War inPuritanism, practiced by Oliver Cromwell and his supporters, was widespread in the border counties of Wales and in Pembrokeshire.

Welsh royalists, who supported the king and Anglicanism, were stripped of their property, incurring much resentment among non-Puritan Welsh. In the Act for the Propagation of the Gospel in Wales was passed, taking over both political and religious life. During the period known as the Interregnum when Cromwell was in power, several non-Anglican, or Dissenting, Protestant congregations were formed which were to have significant influences on modern Welsh life.

The most religiously and socially radical of these were the Quakers, who had a strong following in Montgomeryshire and Merioneth, and eventually spread their influence to areas including the Anglican border counties and the Welsh-speaking areas in the north and west.

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The Quakers, intensely disliked by both other Dissenting churches and the Anglican Church, were severely repressed with the result that large numbers were forced to emigrate to the American colonies. Other churches, such as the Baptist and Congregationalist, which were Calvinist in theology, grew and found many followers in rural communities and small towns.

In the latter part of the eighteenth century many Welsh converted to Methodism after a revival movement in Methodism was supported within the established Anglican Church and was originally organized through local societies governed by a central association. The influence of the original Dissenting churches, combined with the spiritual revival of Methodism, gradually led Welsh society away from Anglicanism.

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Conflicts in leadership and chronic poverty made church growth difficult, but the popularity of Methodism eventually helped establish it permanently as the most widespread denomination. The Methodist and other Dissenting churches were also responsible for an increase in literacy through church-sponsored schools that promoted education as a way of spreading religious doctrine.

Today, followers of Methodism still constitute the largest religious group. There are also much smaller numbers of Jews and Muslims. The Dissenting Protestant sects, and religion in general, played very important roles in modern Welsh society but the number of people who regularly participated in religious activities dropped significantly after World War II. Rituals and Holy Places. The Cathedral of Saint David, in Pembrokeshire, is the most significant national holy place.

David, the patron saint of Wales, was a religious crusader who arrived in Wales in the sixth century to spread Christianity and convert the Welsh tribes. He died in on 1 March, now celebrated as Saint David's Day, a national holiday.

His remains are buried in the cathedral. Health care and medicine are government-funded and supported by the National Health Service of the United Kingdom.

There is a very high standard of health care in Wales with approximately six medical practitioners per ten thousand people. During the nineteenth century, Welsh intellectuals began to promote the national culture and traditions, initiating a revival of Welsh folk culture. Over the last century these celebrations have evolved into major events and Wales now has several internationally important music and literary festivals.

The most important Welsh secular celebration, however, is the Eisteddfod cultural gathering celebrating music, poetry, and storytelling. The Eisteddfod has its origins in the twelfth century when it was essentially a meeting held by the Welsh bards for the exchange of information. Taking place irregularly and in different locations, the Eisteddfod was attended by poets, musicians and troubadours, all of whom had important roles in medieval Welsh culture.

By the eighteenth century the tradition had become less cultural and more social, often degenerating into drunken tavern meetings, but in the Gwyneddigion Society revived the Eisteddfod as a competitive festival. It was Edward Williams, also known as Iolo Morgannwg, however, who reawakened Welsh interest in the Eisteddfod in the nineteenth century. Williams actively promoted the Eisteddfod among the Welsh community living in London, often giving dramatic speeches about the significance of Welsh culture and the importance of continuing ancient Celtic traditions.


The nineteenth century revival of the Eisteddfod and the rise of Welsh nationalism, combined with a romantic image of ancient Welsh history, led to the creation of Welsh ceremonies and rituals that may not have any historical basis.

The Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod, held from 4 to 9 July, and the Royal National Eisteddfod at Llanelli, which features poetry and Welsh folk arts, held from 5 to 12 August, are the two most important secular celebrations.

Other smaller, folk and cultural festivals are held throughout the year.

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A half-timbered building in Beaumaris, Anglesey, Wales. Support for the Arts. The traditional importance of music and poetry has encouraged a general appreciation of and support for all of the arts. There is strong public support throughout Wales for the arts, which are considered important to the national culture. Financial support is derived from both the private and public sectors. The Welsh Arts Council provides government assistance for literature, art, music, and theater.

The council also organizes tours of foreign performance groups in Wales and provides grants to writers for both English- and Welsh-language publications. Literature and poetry occupy an important position in Wales for historical and linguistic reasons. Welsh culture was based on an oral tradition of legends, myths, and folktales passed down from generation to generation. The most famous early bardic poets, Taliesin and Aneirin, wrote epic poems about Welsh events and legends around the seventh century.

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Increasing literacy in the eighteenth century and the concern of Welsh intellectuals for the preservation of the language and culture gave birth to modern written Welsh literature. As industrialization and Anglicization began to threaten traditional Welsh culture, efforts were made to promote the language, preserve Welsh poetry, and encourage Welsh writers. Dylan Thomas, however, the best known twentieth century Welsh poet, wrote in English.

Literary festivals and competitions help keep this tradition alive, as does the continued promotion of Welsh, the Celtic language with the largest number of speakers today. Nevertheless, the influence of other cultures combined with the ease of communication through mass media, from both inside the United Kingdom and from other parts of the world, continually undermine efforts to preserve a purely Welsh form of literature.

Performance Arts. Singing is the most important of the performance arts in Wales and has its roots in ancient traditions. Music was both entertainment and a means for telling stories. Wales is famous for its all-male choirs, which have evolved from the religious choral tradition. Traditional instruments, such as the harp, are still widely played and since the Welsh Folk Song Society has preserved, collected, and published traditional songs. The Welsh Theater Company is critically acclaimed and Wales has produced many internationally famous actors.

Until the last part of the twentieth century, limited professional and economic opportunities caused many Welsh scientists, scholars, and researchers to leave Wales. A changing economy and the investment of multinationals specializing in high technology are encouraging more people to remain in Wales and find work in the private sector.

Research in the social and physical sciences is also supported by Welsh universities and colleges. Curtis, Tony. Durkaez, Victor E. English, John. Fevre, Ralph, and Andrew Thompson. Hopkin, Deian R.

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Jackson, William Eric. Jones, Gareth Elwyn. Modern Wales: A Concise History, - Owen, Trefor M. The Customs and Traditions of Wales, Williams, Glanmor.

Williams, Glyn. Social and Cultural Change in Contemporary Wales, Toggle navigation. Alternative Name Cymru, the nation; Cymry, the people; Cymraeg, the language. History and Ethnic Relations Emergence of the Nation.

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Urbanism, Architecture, and the Use of Space The development of Welsh cities and towns did not begin until industrialization in the late s. Food and Economy Food in Daily Life. Political Life Government. Social Welfare and Change Programs Health and social services fall under the administration and responsibility of the secretary of state for Wales.

Socialization Child Rearing and Education.

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Religion Religious Beliefs. Secular Celebrations During the nineteenth century, Welsh intellectuals began to promote the national culture and traditions, initiating a revival of Welsh folk culture.

The Arts and Humanities Support for the Arts.

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The State of Physical and Social Sciences Until the last part of the twentieth century, limited professional and economic opportunities caused many Welsh scientists, scholars, and researchers to leave Wales. Bibliography Curtis, Tony. Davies, William Watkin.

Feb 04,   "Spooning" takes on a whole new meaning in this UK nation: whether you're "the big or little one" matters not. In traditional Welsh culture, young lovebirds give and receive "lovespoons" as a symbol of their adoration. These wooden spoons are hand-carved and elaborate; young bachelors will spend hours intricately carving this most significant gift. Welcome to Wales Online Dating, The site where local singles can meet and form relationships Sick of being single? Fed up of waking up solo on a Sunday morning? Well, you've come to the right place place. Here at Wales Online we have loads of members just like you, looking for fun, friendship, romance or even a special long term relationship. The Welsh work hard and play hard, so if you've ever thought about dating a Welsh person, here are the things you need to know. They Invented the 'Cwtch' To cwtch, to have a cwtch, to spend a cwtchy evening-anyone who has dated a Welsh person will certainly know this multi-use word, as there's nothing so Welsh as a 'cwtch'.

Wales, Rees, David Ben. Wales: The Cultural Heritage, Williams, David. A History of Modern Wales, Web Sites U.

A land of princes and dragons will always have its romantics. The stereotypical image of the Welsh-dark hair and eyes, rather sturdy and courageous-stems from these myths and legends. Princesses are rescued, and knights battle for good. St Dwynwen, the patron saint of lovers, has a sad story. Denied her true love, she eschewed relationships and became a nun. You can visit her church on Llanddwyn Island on Anglesey. Select currency. My Plans. Open menu Menu.

Who Can Resist a Welsh Accent? They Can Act. They Love Their Food. They Have the Most Romantic Spots. So if you're dating someone from Wales, you can guarantee that you're not going to be bored, and it's easy to see why so many have fallen for the charms of a Welsh suitor Welsh People Love Food Who doesn't love eating? For the majority of us, our lives are a countdown to meal times, whether it's breakfast, second breakfast, elevenses, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or supper; eating is simply the highlight of the day.

The same goes for the Welsh who indulge on Welsh cakes, Glamorgan sausages and rarebit.

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