The culture of Wales

The diverse Welsh culture has its own traditions, language, festivals, mythology, music, art, cuisine and holidays.

Celebrating traditional seasonal festivals is an important aspect of Welsh culture. Prominent Welsh festivals include Calan Gaeaf (similar to Halloween), Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau (just like Imbolc and Candlemas), Calan Mai (meaning May Day, like Beltane), Calan Awst (meaning Midsummer, similar to Lughnasa), Calennig (Welsh New Year).

The flag of wales also includes an important Welsh cultural and historical symbol, the red Welsh dragon with green and white colours in the field. In 1485, it was used at the battle of Bosworth by Henry VII and was later carried to St. Paul’s Cathedral. After that, it was incorporated in the Tudor army to highlight their Welsh origin. In 1959, it was officially accepted as the national flag of wales. The British Union flag represents the flags of England, Scotland and Ireland, but doesn’t include the Welsh flag. It is currently represented by the flag of England.

Another important Welsh emblem is the leek. According to the Welsh history, Saint David instructed his army men to wear the vegetable over their helmets for easy identification in the battle fought in the leek fields against the Saxons. Welsh still wear it on 1st March as part of their culture, which is celebrated every year as St. David’s Day. Other national symbols of Wales are daffodil (national flower), red kite (wildlife symbol), sessile oak (national tree) and Dame Wales (national epitome).

The medieval Welsh books containing mythological text based on the pre-Christianity era include the Book of Taliesin, the Book of Aneirin, the White Book of Rhydderch and the Red Book of Hergest. The story books like White and Red Books, poems like The Battle of Trees (Cad Goddeu), list-texts like Thirteen Treasures of the Island of Britain and Welsh Triads also contain cultural and mythological pieces. These manuscripts represent the Welsh history in the post-Roman British era. Welsh art, another significant part of Welsh culture is mainly associated with visual arts depicting the natural beauty of Wales and its natives. Lichfield Gospels and Hereford Gospels built in the 8th century are the prominent examples of insular art form of Wales. This form of art can also be observed at Ricemarch Plaster, Dublin and in surviving metalwork pieces. The remarkable examples of medieval architecture can be seen at Castle and Town Walls of King Edward and Beaumaris Castle. Many artists have captured the beautiful landscape of Wales and the most notable of them are Richard Wilson, Thomas Jones and Edmund Bruke. Many guide books were also published during the 18th century by various writers like Joseph Cradock and Thomas Pennant.

Interesting places