Welsh Culture. The Traditions Of Wales. Welsh Cuisine
Eisteddfod is purely a Welsh invention, which gives all travelers a mystical experience. The word Eisteddfod means “meeting of the bards”, and traditionally Eisteddfod was a competition associated with the poetry and music. Eisteddfod the first was held in 1176. However, the popularity of these events fell after the XVII century, when they began to cause rage among strict nonconformist Protestants. In 1860, to resume the old tradition was established by the National Society Eisteddfod, and currently three major Eisteddfod and several local and regional scale. Another heritage of Welsh culture, leading traditions from the mining communities of South Wales, are male choirs. The choirs are based on Methodism, and their repertoire is rich in hymns and other solemn works. Over time, the structure of choirs is changing – now you can see both foreigners and – paradoxically – women in their compositions.
The Welsh are a nation of nonconformists, so it is not surprising that a large number of nonconformist Protestant sects appear here. Christianity has existed in Wales since the fifth century; since the reformation, Wales has been a diocese of the Anglican Church. In the eighteenth century, new strata of the working class began to form various sects, in particular, Baptist, Methodist and independent, implying the introduction of self-government for each parish. By 1851, 80% of the population were nonconformists, and in 1920 the Anglican Church disappeared from the country. Nonconformists are traditionally puritans, and until recently, the pubs were closed on Sundays. Currently, however, only 220 thousand of the Welsh were nonconformists.
The fact that Wales stands out so vividly against the background of Britain is the preservation of the Welsh language as a living and widely used one. Despite the bizarre and unpronounceable double sound “l” and successive consonants, the Welsh language belongs to the Celtic group of Indo-European languages. His closest linguistic brothers are Cornish and Breton. During the Roman occupation, many people became bilingual, in addition to Welsh and mastered Latin. Since then and until now Latin influence on Welsh language still remains obvious. The language was fully developed by the 6th century and is one of the oldest languages in Europe. The industrial revolution brought a flood of native English speakers into the country, and between 1800 and 1900, the percentage of people speaking Welsh dropped from 80% to 50%. Nowadays, only 20% of the population, mostly in the Northwest and West, speak Welsh. Activists are working to bring the language back to life – for example, the law prescribes to speak Welsh in the courts, several bilingual publications are produced, the Fourth Welsh TV channel broadcasts daily programs in Welsh. In 1988 was established the Council for the Welsh language, and in 1994 was introduced the act on the Welsh language, stating that this language is no less important than other languages, and discrimination against people who speak the Welsh language illegal.
Welsh food does not differ in any bright features, but it still exists! The absolute symbol of the local cuisine is leek. However, no less specific look and such dishes as bread from red algae (a mixture of seaweed, oatmeal and bacon, served as toast), croutons with cheese (cheese on toast with the addition of the aroma of mustard and beer) and Glamorgan sausages (Glamorgan saucages), made of cheese, bread, herbs and, of course, leek.