Shwmae Sumae Day in Wales Date in the current year: October 15, 2022

Shwmae Sumae Day in Wales Shwmae Sumae Day (Diwrnod Shwmae Sumae), also spelled Shwmae Su’mae Day, is an annual celebration of the Welsh language. It was created to promote the use of Welsh and encourage non-Welsh speakers to learn at least a few basic words and expressions.

Welsh is the native language of Wales and the Welsh people. It is a Celtic language of the Brittonic subgroup; the closest extant relatives of Welsh are Britton and Cornish (the latter became extinct in the late 18th century and was revived in the early 20th century). Welsh should not be confused with Welsh English, a group of dialects of English spoken in Wales.

Welsh was historically spoken by the majority of the population of Wales, but current estimate suggests that about a third of Wales’ population aged three or older can speak the language (this includes both first and second language speakers). The government of Wales has taken measures to promote the use and development of Welsh, and there are popular initiatives, too. Shwmae Sumae Day is one of such initiatives.

The first Shwmae Sumae Day was celebrated on October 15, 2013. The day received its name after two informal Welsh greetings that are used as conversation starters in South and North Wales, respectively. Shwmae is pronounced “shuh-my” and sumae is pronounced “soo-my”; both can be translated as “hi” or “hi there”.

Shwmae Sumae Day promotes the idea of starting every conversation with a Welsh greeting – shwmae, sumae or shwdi – to show that it is a community language that belongs to everyone who lives in Wales or has roots there, regardless of whether they are fluent speakers, learners or complete beginners.

Shwmae Sumae Day is a grassroots initiative coordinated by Dathlu’r Gymraeg, a network of Welsh individuals, societies and organizations that work to ensure the future of the Welsh language. Anyone and everyone who wants to contribute to the promotion of the Welsh language and culture can organize an event; they just need to let Dathlu’r Gymraeg know about it so that information about the event can be posted on the official website.

Every year, Dathlu’r Gymraeg appoints five “champions” who share their experience with learning and speaking Welsh to highlight the importance of using Welsh and actively encourage others to learn and not be afraid to talk. These champions are fluent Welsh speakers from across Wales, many of whom have learned the language as adults. Talking to a fluent speaker may be intimidating for those who don’t know the language so well; Shwae Sumae Day champions encourage them to start with simple phrases and pick up new words as they go.

On the occasion of Shwmae Sumae Day schools and other educational institutions across Wales create videos to promote the learning and use of Welsh and share them on their social media accounts. The event is also supported and promoted by radio stations, various businesses, NGOs, and even sports teams. Special events held on Shwmae Sumae Day include workshops, get-togethers, flash mobs, and more. Some businesses offer prizes or discounts to customers who greet the staff in Welsh instead of English.

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Category

Cultural Observances

Country

United Kingdom

Tags

Shwmae Sumae Day in Wales, observances in Wales, observances in the UK, cultural observances, Welsh language