By Shannon Higginson
It’s that time of the year again, when you’re busy booking a week or two in an exotic country. I’ve found that France, Spain, and America are some of the most popular destinations – all different cultures, foreign climates. But while it’s always good to take an interest in cultures that aren’t our own, how much do we actually know about our own homeland?
Don’t get me wrong, I can see the allure of palm trees; azure oceans; and golden sands – Britain isn’t exactly famous for its tropical weather. Yet.
I think that Wales is taken for granted. There’s not many countries that offer stunning views like the Gower Peninsula or Snowdonia National Park, but when we live in these beautiful surroundings, its majesty is lost on us.
This country has a rich heritage; the Welsh culture is one of the most ancient in the world. There are plenty of myths and legends to explore among the history of Wales – in fact, it’s hard to find a town that doesn’t have it’s own tale! From the fables of King Arthur to native stories passed down through word-of-mouth to factual sagas of civil wars, there’s something of interest for everyone in this beautiful country. The Welsh language is a priceless antique – and unfortunately one that is dying out. People are becoming less and less concerned with their own countries’ customs; and it’s a shame that our culture should have to pay the price. As a person who is not originally from Wales, I find this country to be warm and welcoming. Hospitality and openness is found everywhere, and I’m not sure whether there’s anything more inspiring than the roar of the crowd at a rugby game.
Wales’ national anthem is “Mae Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau” – literally translated “The Land of My Fathers” – and is sung at the annual Eisteddfodd in celebration of Saint David’s day. It dates back to the 12th century as a festival of Welsh music, literature, and art; and I’m happy to see it has stayed very much the same. Where else can you find such patriotic enthusiasm?
A country’s culture is based on its traditions, and should be individual. Wales has a strong, unforgettable culture that overflows with beauty and music; and I can’t see why people don’t pay more attention to it.
So this year or the next, instead of booking a fortnight in Florida, why not book a week in Anglesey? Take a tent into the mountains of Snowdonia? Stay in Tenby for a long weekend?
After all, there’s no place like home.
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