Home        Programme        Welshness        Newsletters        Contact        Archive        Gallery 1        Gallery 2
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau

Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mad,
Dros ryddid collasant eu gwaed.

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.

Hen Gymru fynyddig, paradwys y bardd,
Pob dyffryn, pob clogwyn, i'm golwg sydd hardd;
Trwy deimlad gwladgarol, mor swynol yw si
Ei nentydd, afonydd, i mi.

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.

Os treisiodd y gelyn fy ngwlad tan ei droed,
Mae hen iaith y Cymru mor fyw ag erioed,
Ni luddiwyd yr awen gan erchyll law brad,
Na thelyn berseiniol fy ngwlad.

Gwlad, gwlad, pleidiol wyf i'm gwlad.
Tra môr yn fur i'r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i'r hen iaith barhau.
Learn the Welsh National Anthem
Welsh Lovespoons

The Welsh Lovespoon is a wooden spoon decoratively carved that was traditionally presented as a gift of romantic intent. The spoon is normally decorated with symbols of love, and was intended to reflect the skill of the carver. Due to the intricate designs, lovespoons are no longer used as functioning spoons and are now decorative craft items.

The lovespoon is a traditional craft that dates back to the seventeenth century. Over generations, decorative carvings were added to the spoon and it lost its original practical use and became a treasured decorative item to be hung on a wall.

The earliest known dated lovespoon from Wales, displayed in the St Fagans National History Museum near Cardiff, is from 1667, although the tradition is believed to date back long before that.

The lovespoon was given to a young woman by her suitor. It was important for the girl's father to see that the young man was capable of providing for the family and woodworking.

Sailors would often carve lovespoons during their long journeys, which is why anchors would often be incorporated into the carvings.

Certain symbols came to have specific meanings: a horseshoe for luck, a cross for faith, bells for marriage, hearts for love, a wheel supporting a loved one and a lock for security, among others. Caged balls indicated the number of children hoped for. Other difficult carvings, such as chains, were as much a demonstration of the carver's skill as a symbolic meaning.
Y Ddraig Goch - The Welsh Dragon
Y Ddraig Goch, the Welsh (Red) Dragon remains a strong national symbol of Wales but what are the origins of the iconic red dragon?  

Some of the earliest references to dragons can be found in ancient Welsh literature between 400 and 700 AD. Following the retreat of the Roman Empire, Britain was subject to a period or major upheaval where warring tribes struggled to gain the upper hand.

As with much of literature much can be read into the symbolic aspect of the dragon. Dragon’s represent strength and power but also destruction.

Ancient Welsh poets Aneirin and Taliesin used the Welsh word for dragon "draig" to mean warrior or leader. Later in 800 A.D The dragon emerged as a symbol of national independence in the Historia Brittonum ascribed to Nennius. Here the dragon represents national independence in the story of the red dragon battling with the white dragon of the Saxon enemy.

Later during the Norman conquest in the 11th century, the dragon was used by both the Norman’s and the Anglo Saxons in their standard. The Bayeux Tapestry clearly shows King Harold close to a dragon standard as he falls at the Battle of Hastings and on the pennant of one of Duke William's messengers.

It would take the Normans more than two centuries to fully conquer Wales through slow process of colonisation. Nonetheless Welsh culture and the Welsh language survived along with its national identity.

The red dragon we know today would eventually become a symbol of Wales at the time of the Tudor dynasty. Despite all the bad press about English oppression, Henry VII who faced King Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485 one of his battle standards carried a red dragon described by chroniclers as "Red ffyry dragon peyntid upon white and Grene Sarcenet".  

Perhaps in an early attempt at propaganda, the dragon banner was supposed to represent Henry Tudor's claim to be a true representative of the ancient kings of Britain by adopting a recognisable symbol of the Welsh nation.

Today the Welsh Dragon continues to sit proud as a national symbol. Perhaps the latest chapter in the history of the Welsh Dragon will be the waking the Dragon Project which will place a highly visible national icon in the hands of Wales and anyone from the international community who want to get involved.
St David's Cross

The flag of Saint David (Baner Dewi Sant) is normally a yellow cross on a black field, although it has also appeared as a black cross on a yellow field, or with an engrailed cross. It represents the 6th century Saint David (Dewi Sant) c. 500 - c. 589, a Welsh Bishop of Menevia and the Patron Saint of Wales.

The Flag of Saint David has been used as a flag representing Wales (as an alternative to the Red Dragon flag), in the same sense that the crosses of, Saint Andrew (Scotland), Saint Patrick (Ireland) Saint George (England) and Saint Piran (Cornwall) are used to represent their respective countries and patron saints.

The flag can be seen throughout Wales, though not as frequently as the Red Dragon. On St David's Day it often plays a central role in the celebrations.

The history of the flag is somewhat obscure, though it seems to have emerged at the beginning of the 20th century. One theory is that it was developed to fly atop Anglican churches in Wales, though since 1954 churches are more likely to fly a flag bearing the armorial bearings of the Church in Wales, granted that year.

In any case, the colours of the flag - black and gold - have certainly long been associated with the Welsh saint, even if not always in the form of a symmetrical cross.
The Celtic Nations
The Celtic nations are territories in Northern and Western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived.

The term "nation" is used in its original sense to mean a people who share a common identity and culture and are identified with a traditional territory. It is not synonymous with "sovereign state".

The six territories recognised as Celtic nations are Brittany (Breizh), on the European continent; Cornwall (Kernow), Wales (Cymru), Scotland (Alba), Ireland (Éire), and the Isle of Man (Mannin). Each of these regions has a Celtic language that is either still spoken or was spoken into modern times.

Each of the six nations has its own Celtic language. In Wales, Scotland, Brittany, and Ireland, these have been spoken continuously through time, while Cornwall and the Isle of Man have languages that were spoken into modern times but later died as spoken community languages. In the latter two regions, however, language revitalization movements have led to the adoption of these languages by adults and produced a number of native speakers.

Ireland, Wales, Brittany and Scotland contain areas where a Celtic language is used on a daily basis – in Ireland the area is called the Gaeltacht on the west coast; Y Fro Gymraeg in Wales, and in Brittany Breizh-Izel. Generally these communities are in the west of their countries and in more isolated upland or island areas. The term Gàidhealtachd historically distinguished the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland (the Highlands) from the Lowland Scots (i.e. Anglo-Saxon) speaking areas. More recently, this term has also been adopted as the Gaelic name of the Highland council area, which includes non-Gaelic speaking areas. Hence, more specific terms such as sgìre Ghàidhlig ("Gaelic-speaking area") are now used.

Before the expansions of Ancient Rome and the Germanic tribes, a significant part of Europe was dominated by Celtic culture.

Territories in the northern Iberian Peninsula, namely Cantabria, particularly Galicia, Northern Portugal and Asturias; sometimes referred to as Gallaecia, which includes North-Central Portugal also lay claim to this Celtic heritage due to their culture and history. Notably, the region's music features extensive use of bagpipes, an instrument common in Celtic music. Musicians from Galicia and Asturias have participated in Celtic music festivals, such as the Breton Festival Interceltique de Lorient, which in 2013 celebrated the Year of Asturias. Northern Portugal, part of ancient Gallaecia (Galicia, Minho, Douro and Trás-os-Montes), also has traditions quite similar to Galicia. However, no Celtic language has been spoken in northern Iberia since probably the Early Middle Ages.

Outside of Europe, the Irish language once was the majority language on the island of Newfoundland, which has its own Irish name Talamh an Eisc (meaning "Land of the Fish"). Scots Gaelic is still spoken on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and in Glengarry County, Ontario; while Welsh language and culture continue to thrive in the Chubut province of Patagonia in Argentina.