Tuesday, March 01, 2005

St. David's Day

We all know the fuss that's made over St. Patrick's Day, right? Not to discredit it at all, by any means, because I myself am about a quarter Irish. And this country has a lot of history surrounding the Irish immigrants who struggled here, so it is rightly celebrated. But there's another holiday that celebrates another Celtic people that is much more overlooked, and these people have a history just as fascinating as that of the Irish, and that is St. David's Day, celebrating the patron saint of Wales. Now most of you know what a Welshophile I am, but just in case there's anyone who doesn't, I have been in love with the country ever since first setting foot in it about four years ago. (Ok really ever since I read the "Here Be Dragons" trilogy by Sharon Kay Penman. I started the trilogy and was in Wales before I even finished the third book.) I got to visit it again in October of '03 and consider it a huge blessing that I got to visit such a beautiful and fascinating land twice now. I could go on and on about what I love about Wales, but I'll share with you a list of things that are particularly cool about Wales in general, in celebration of today.
  • Welsh is the oldest European language still spoken today, and is growing at a rapid rate after declining almost to the point of extinction. (Correction: Welsh is the oldest language in the British Isles; read comments for further info.) :)
  • King Arthur is said to have come from Wales. Also, Wales is said to be the last resting place of the Holy Grail.
  • The stones used to build Stonehenge were most likely transported to their present location all the way from Wales, and builders from Wales may have even constructed it.
  • The longest place-name in the world is in Wales: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwyllllantisiliogogogoch.
  • The smallest house in the world is in Wales.
  • Mt. Everest is named for a Welshman: Sir George Everest.
  • Famous Welsh people: Richard Burton, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Tom Jones, Timothy Dalton, Charlotte Church, Dylan Thomas, Karl Jenkins, Anthony Hopkins, Bertrand Russell, and Captain Henry Morgan (<- That one's for Tracie.) :)
  • A guinea pig in Wales holds the world record for most Valentine cards received. (Craig, I thought you'd like that one. I sure did.) :)

There's so much more cool things about Wales, but I would be here all day. Happy St. David's Day everyone! And if you are a Welshie (and I know at least one person reading this is!), consider yourself hugged! :)



Blogger Tracie said...

Yay for Whales! They are such cool animals! When I was in Hawaii, I got to see Whales out in...what's that you say? That post wasn't about Whales? hee hee...

Ok, ok...WALES! What interesting things I never knew! If I am ever at a trivia night, and a Welsh catagory comes up, I know who I'm calling!

Oh, and thanks for the shout-out to good ol' Captain Morgan! ;)

3/01/2005 2:19 PM  
Blogger Dirty Gypsy said...

Kristi, I tried to see if there was a translation for "nerd" in Welsh, but no luck. Hee hee! Just kidding. Happy St. David's Day to you, too. That was some very interesting stuff you posted. I liked the story about the pimpin' guinea pig. That was funny. :)

Mmmm...Captain Morgan. Oh, wait, wrong one, I guess... Heh. :)

3/01/2005 2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry to say, Kristi, your factoid about the Welsh language being the oldest European language still in use is incorrect. Welsh can be said to be the oldest language in Britain (according to the site Ask-a-linguist), simply because its speakers have been there the longest. But Basque speakers have been in what is now Spain and France since at least the 2nd century B.C. and probably longer than that (Ah...you might be thinking "But the Celtic people first arrived on the British Isles approximately 2000 to 1200 B.C. This might be true; however, those celts spoke the language known as Old Celtic...with its closest cousin language being Italic, precursor to Latin). Furthermore, Some languages like Greek and Basque are considered older because they never "split" into daughter languages (although both have dialects), and so maintain their status as a language. Another website makes the claim that Lithuanian is the oldest of the Indo-European languages still spoken today. Most linguists suggest that there is simply no way of really defining what the 'oldest' of any given language really is. So please, make note of this and simply say that Welsh is really old.


3/01/2005 7:16 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

Oh Ryan, you're such a smart ass. Or rather... I guess you're just smart. Damn.

3/02/2005 8:22 AM  
Blogger Craig J. said...

That guinea pig story is just too funny!! I laughed out loud when I read that. Who knew a guinea pig could be such a STUD!!! (Or should I say man-slut?) I loved it ..

3/02/2005 8:37 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Point taken, Ryan. I stand corrected. I have GOT to read up on my medieval history some more before I go posting things like that! Apparently the source I read that from had it wrong... but then again lots of "sources" get facts about Wales wrong, I've sadly found...

3/02/2005 12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Haha...just trying to have a bit of fun with facts. I love learning more about languages and when I read that statement, I thought "Surely this could not be true." I think it's so awesome that you have become an expert on Wales. I wonder if one day you might start your own travel company that deals exclusively with Welsh holidays.


3/02/2005 4:20 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I can safely say that would be Kristi's dream job. And she'd be awesome at it, wouldn't she?

3/03/2005 10:28 AM  
Blogger Kristi said...

Ah yes... that WOULD be a dream. Anything involving travel to Wales. :) Maybe one dealing with visiting important sites in Celtic medieval history...

3/03/2005 12:55 PM  

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