Wales, a country that is part of the United Kingdom, is less than one third the size of Texas. If Wales were a US state, it would struggle on the Size By Square Miles leader board, coming between New Hampshire (ranked 44th) and Massachusetts (45th).
Intriguingly, the Welsh have a large presence in the USA, with the U.S. Census survey estimating that nearly 2 million Americans have Welsh ancestry. There are even a number of presidents—including John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and William Harrison—who were of Welsh descent.
The Welsh community in Texas is a vibrant one and although it is not as large as some in other states, it does steadily grow due to both expats moving to the state and more Americans choosing to embrace their Welsh heritage. Many Americans are pleasantly surprised to find that the Welsh culture is one filled with a rich history as well as a host of very colorful traditions and celebrations.
There are many causes for celebration
There are a number of holidays and customs that you can celebrate as part of the Welsh community in Texas. Apart from Christmas and New Year’s, one of the most popular annual celebrations in Wales and among the global Welsh community is St David’s Day which is celebrated on March 1 every year. While the purpose of the day is to celebrate Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, it is also a time to remember your Welsh heritage and appreciate Welsh culture.
On the day, members of the community will undoubtedly be seen displaying the Welsh flags outside their homes while also pinning leeks and daffodils to their clothing. A lot of gift exchanges also take place on the day with Celtic jewelry and everything from ornaments to t-shirts depicting the Welsh Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) being considered great gifts.
Join the Texas Welsh Society
It is often a great challenge to both retain and celebrate Welsh heritage in the USA. One of the main reasons for this is the fact that the majority of Welsh-Americans are not even aware of their heritage while others can’t quite comprehend that Wales possesses its own unique language, culture, and history. It is for this very reason that the Texas Welsh Society was created. As the brainchild of two Welsh language students from Austin, the society aims to not only encourage an amplified appreciation of Wales and the Welsh culture but to raise awareness of pertinent issues that involve the Welsh community worldwide.
The sense of community is boundless
Apart from offering individuals of all walks an environment in which to explore the Welsh culture, the Texas Welsh Society, which has its headquarters in Austin, also facilitates social interaction within the community. The group was formed in 2018 and is focusing most of its efforts on monthly gatherings. The founders are, however, hoping to soon expand their reach by offering Welsh book and film discussions, food nights, language studies, and an outreach program for Welsh guests.
The Welsh community in Texas may not be huge but it is definitely one worth being a part of. Discovering and embracing your Welsh roots will more than likely turn out to be more enriching and fulfilling than you could ever have imagined.
Alicia Holroyd spent 10 years working in professional kitchens in Houston before taking a career break to start a family. She now combines her lifelong love of writing with her experience in the food and nutrition sector as a freelance writer and content editor. Holroyd lives in Clearlake with her husband, two daughters and black lab, Rosie.