On October 15th, 2019, people across Wales will be greeting each other with a Shwmae or Su’mae and encouraging people to give Welsh a go.
This is Shwmae Su’mae’s 7th birthday, a national celebration held on the 15th of October each year across Wales to celebrate the Welsh language, encouraging and giving people the confidence to start each conversation in Welsh. The day is being coordinated by the umbrella group ‘Dathlu’r Gymraeg’ (Celebrating the Language), but all events are organised at grassroots level by hundreds of individuals, groups, communities, institutions, organisations and public service providers across Wales.
Part of this year’s campaign is to encourace people to taste the Welsh language at all sorts of events from wine tasting to chatting over a cup of coffee. Your local Menter Iaith will be supporting the day by distributing resources including post cards including handy words and phrases to get you going. Contact your Menter Iaith to see how they can help.
One of the day’s ‘Champions’ is one of Mentrau’s most active volunteers who has not only learnt Welsh himself but gone on to help others. Neil Rowlands, originally from Cardiff and now living in Newport, is the founder of the online bilingual magazine ‘Parallel’ – a website that makes reading the Welsh language more accessible to a wider audience. He was inspired to start learning Welsh from hearing the language being spoken by colleagues in the Welsh department of Swansea University. At the time he was working next to the department, and hearing the Welsh language spoken daily made him realise for the first time that there were communities of people that use the language naturally. This was the same community that came to support his journey as a new learner, along with the language centre at Tŷ Tawe in Swansea. After developing his language skills by practicing speaking, he began to contribute back to the Welsh language community by volunteering, running a weekly Welsh learners’ group, working ad-hoc in the Tŷ Tawe bookshop and in local gigs.
To find out more about Shwmae Su’mae Day, download handy resources to help you celebrate or to read Neil’s story visit www.shwmae.cymru