SSi Forum

NAFOW and catching up - American/Canadian SSiWers, your thoughts please... :-)


Besides having difficulty finding time to siarad Cymraeg, what other difficulties did you experience? In contrast, what are areas that you are succeeding as a group?


Out of interest, I was just just wondering if there are any links between Welsh groups and Cornish societies in North America as a means of sharing resources, ideas and helping to create a larger mass of people to engage with (2 million Americans of Cornish decent and our closest celtic cousins etc - possibly even Breton societies, but there seems to be far fewer Americans of Breton decent?). The Cornish Heritage Society popped up when I looked and lots of local Cornish groups.


Good question, Toffidil. I’ve not looked for Cornish groups, but certainly could be a resource to sync with. What search criteria have you used to find the groups?


nothing in particular except american Cornish, which gave a Wikipedia page and the Cornish Heitage Society - whos website has lapsed, but I could see that they use Facebook still and talk about US based events, but i don’t use Facebook and couldn’t look any deeper.

The thing is the Irish diaspora is huge at 27 million in the US, but with 50000 in total somehow claiming Irish decent and I guess that has a financial value in terms of awareness, merchandising, events etc. The Welsh and Cornish etc are much less, although between them they can make a very significant number.

Add in an unknown amount of Bretons ( and those three are historically all members of the same family) and it might be a reasonably large number of people who might be interested in similar things.


You’ve touched on a couple of interesting items:

  • The Irish are well represented in the US. St. Patrick’s day is ridiculously huge! The city of Chicago dumps green dye into their river. It’s as close to a national holiday as one can get without the government recognizing it. Growing up in the 70’s in a very NON-Irish area, we all wore green shirts on St. Patrick’s day. And if you didn’t, you were pinched.
  • In the United States the Irish have a stronger association to the terms, “Gaelic” and “Celtic” than Cymry and certainly Cornish.
  • I’ll add “Cornish” to the list of search strings. I also have an alternative list of search strings relating to Celtic festivals, Highland Festivals and Renaissance Fairs. Renaissance is a bit of a reach and will probably be my last set of searches as “Welsh/Celtic” is only a small part of such things.

If you have other ideas for potential searches, let me know, and I’ll add them to the list.


Ye gads! I miss a couple of weeks and look what happens! (I’ve had a MASSIVE stressor in my life that I escaped from long enough for NAFOW but had to return to until just the other day! NOW you have my attention! :smile:)

Ok, this thread was way long and frankly some of it was over my head! :flushed: Here are my quick answers:

*Absolutely want to be involved in NAFOW going forward! :grinning:
*No slack! :tired_face:
*Didn’t get an e-mail from being tagged! :thinking:


Down with this sort of thing!

[That might mean you have some ‘don’t email me!’ stuff going on in your settings…]


Ah. I think I fixed it! :wink:


Testing to see if you get an email from being tagged…


NO! :thinking:

Checking settings again…


I missed a box! :rolling_eyes:


Canada calling…

Hi folks, recently back from Namibia where yes–I had a chance to speak Welsh, albeit confusing a flock of birders with my mantra “cwrw, cwrw, cwrw”–as explained under the breakthrough thread, and below.

Although still jet-lagged after a 44-hour return journey, I will be back at the Vancouver Welsh Society for our language class tonight–I hope it has been captured under the list of active Welsh associations with a wonderful history and excellent resources, including our own hall and pub–the ‘Red Dragon’ which serves Penderyn whiskey along with wine and beer :tumbler_glass::wine_glass::beer:. We also have Chapel services and hymn sings and… well, check our website and come along anytime you are in town.

Lots been going on here I can see–well done. Being very time-zone sensitive right now, I certainly vote for more opportunities to practice speaking Welsh during evening hours here–8 hours behind the folks in Wales. Given the size of this continent, for some folk, espcially those living on the eastern seaboard or the islands beyond, it may be almost as easy to travel to Bootcamps in Wales as to come here, especially if crossing the border. However, this is a lovely part of the world that must be on many people’s ‘bucket lists’–just saying… :sunglasses:

As far as the delightful experience of being welcome to speak Welsh ‘over here’–remember, we are viewed, perhaps with a certain envy, as being rather ‘exotic’–people proud of our roots, proud enough to make the effort to SSiW and keep up the culture, not as pesky nuisances who insist on bilingualism in the ‘homeland’. However, one thing life has taught me is that people take us at our own sense of self-worth, and provided we are gracious, not defensive, we can enjoy a lot of latitude to ‘be ourselves’. But if there is any push-back–assuming time permits, simply taking an interest in the other person and what they are passionate about often helps.

So back to those birders I referred to–all kitted out with massive field binoculars scanning the desert horizon or madly flipping through their well-worn field-guides to help identify the elusive cwrw, bless them–I didn’t have the heart to admit I was just fantasizing about a beer as we struggled up a 1000 ft dune through red-hot sand, so I ground to a halt with them and learned about some of the feathered desert-dwellers. Being totally ignorant myself meant everyone could not only delight in being an expert, but also have an excuse to catch their breath. Only when we slid to the bottom, did one wink and whisper conspiratorially “Hoffwn i cwrw hefyd!”

Keep me posted please friends–and put me on the ‘list’.

Diolch yn fawr,


Diolch, Mari. What a great story. thanks for sharing after an exhausting return trip; 44 hours. UGH! Also, thank you for your insight in your Welsh Society. Sounds like it’s a lively and fun bunch!


Aye we are that :slight_smile:


We need a Welsh Language teacher or two in the New England area, large distances to drive one problem. Many here learning but no teacher… we are trying hard to start a conversation group once a month but some will have to drive over an hour and a half so I bet they won’t come every month, defeating the issue.


@aran Apologies for my 8 month delay in responding! I have since moved from the US to Australia and only just joined up with a Welsh learners class in Melbourne a few weeks ago, hence my long overdue return to SSiW. The Pittsburgh St David’s Society is very active in putting on Welsh cultural events in Southwest Pennsylvania and several of the members are on the board of NAFOW. I’m still in contact with the group in Pittsburgh and can provide contact information if it would be helpful to continue the discussion of SSiW having a continuing presence at NAFOW. I’ve been involved in the Welsh-American scene as a young person (my father conducts Gymanfa Ganus throughout the Northeast and brought us to NAFOW/“the National” every year as a kid) and agree the people who attend this event and other traditional Welsh events in the US are of an older demographic yet the language classes (both in Pittsburgh and now in Melbourne) tend to attract a wider age range. There is definitely an opportunity here to keep NAFOW and similar festivals going in future years by bringing in new younger Welsh enthusiasts via the language.


Lovely to hear from you, Liz! :slight_smile: Great, that’s really interesting input - I’m increasingly sure that we can figure out a way to do this… :slight_smile:


So, I’m thinking of going to NAFOW…but it would mean paying for another plane ticket/hotel having just paid off the trip to Wales for the big party! :grimacing:

Just wondering who else might be there that I know–it would be more appealing if I knew I’d see some friendly faces!

Anyone? Anyone? :thinking:

Help me decide!! :slight_smile:


Maybe. :thinking:


Was really tempted,… but then friends asked me to perform their daughter’s wedding that weekend—it’s a no-brainer which won out.

I am hoping for a West Coast venue next year, so will save my pennies for that.

Enjoy the NAFOW festival and please let us know all about it.