Wales

by Morgan Reynolds

       The country of Wales is very interesting. From its food to its traditions, its music, landscape and currency.

In Wales live many different people with a growing population of 3,063,000.

        In Wales there are many different foods eaten traditionally by each family. One food that plays a large role in Wales cuisine is cheese, for example Pont Gรขr which is an award winning soft cheese, Perl Las a strong blue cheese with a mellow aftertaste or Caerphilly which is another award winning cheese that is also eaten in the USA. Mutton is also a very important food eaten in Wales, it is meat from sheep that is aged for two years. Other traditional foods are Bara Brith, Cawl and Welsh Cakes which have been eaten traditionaly for many years.

         The people in Wales,  or the Welsh, used to wear clothing very different from what they do now. Traditionally the women wore striped flannel petticoats under a front opened bed-gown with a apron and shawl over top. They also wore tall hats or "chimney hats" similar to what men wore. The men traditionally wore black pants, and a white shirt under a black vest. They also wore chimney hats along with these outfits.

        In modern Wales the people wear similar clothing to what is worn in America. The women wear skirts, jeans, sweats, t-shirts, sweaters and shoes like ours. Welsh men also wear the same as american men do like jeans, sweatshirts, t-shirts, shorts, shoes etc. Therefore modern Welsh clothing is almost the same as the clothing seen being worn in modern America.

         Music has been a very important part of the Welsh culture, and helps define their society. The oldest traditional instruments are the crwth, a stringed lyre that is played with a bow,  and harp, especially the triple harp, played by many people in the musical industry to celebrate their musical roots. Played by Shepherds was the pibgorn, a simple instrument made from wood and the horns of a bull. Another traditional, yet still popular, instrument was the whistle or flute, due to its low cost, availability and easy construction. The last traditional instrument was very popular with the Romany families of Wales, being the fiddle.

         Traditional dancing in Wales has been around for a long time. It included clog dancing, done by farmers and quarry workers to show off their stamina and athleticism, but unlike other clogging dances, ones in Wales included small or large tricks like "Toby stepping" (snuffing out candles with the dancers feet). The common people would also gathered in the summer at festivals to do country dances. Higher class people would gather together and dance at balls or parties.

       Found in Wales are two common languages, both spoken by lots of the population. Everyone in Wales speaks English, due to its location in England, making English their main language. Although half a million, or 19% of the population in Wales speak Cymraeg, the Welsh language with completely regular and phonetic spelling.

        There are three main religions which make up the population in Wales. The majority (72%) of the population identify as Christian, according to the 2001 census. The second most popular religion was the Church of Wales, but was disestablished by the British government in 1914. Finally the religion of the Roman Catholic church is used by 3% of the population, while 2% of the population is made up of non-christian religions, and 18% declared themselves to have no religion.

       The traditional and modern day housing in Wales differs in many ways. The most common home was a Tai Unno, or One Night. These had to be completed overnight from thatch and turf or clay, smoke had to rise from the chimney by morning and then the dweller had to throw an ax from his front door to determine the boundary around the house. Afterwards they had time to create a more permanent home. Once railways were created, they were also supplied with bricks and lumber to build their homes.

       In modern day Wales the houses are much different from what they traditionally were. Most houses are standard brick, concrete or are made of wood. The apartment buildings are rectangular and linear with each other, being brick or concrete with a standard roof. Any other types of housing is up to the builders imagination and, being specifically made by that person, are not similar to others of the area, making them uncommon houses.

       The landscape in Wales is made up of many different naturally beautiful parts. Wales is surrounded by seas on three sides, leaving them with many beaches along those coasts. It contains two major mountain ranges being the Cambrian Mountains which helps form the main watershed in Wales, and the Black Mountains which rise above 2,000 feet tall. In Wales are 398 natural lakes and 90 man-made ones, and there are many waterfalls located there too. One lake that has a deep past in Wales called Llyn Tegid is, according to legend, inhabited by a friendly monster known as Teggie.

        The currency used in Wales is that which is used in all of Britain. Their currency is the British pound, GPS or the pound sterling. It is equivilent to the American dollar in that one pound is the same as $1.49 in U.S. dollars and coins.

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