Members and guests of the Welsh Society of Western New England (WSWNE), celebrated the coming of Christmas and another new year on December 3, 2016 in the cozy Library Room of the Nutmeg Restaurant in East Windsor, CT.
The holiday colors of the Christmas tree in the corner and the poinsettias on the mantle were soon complemented by the red and green of our Welsh flag and festoons of red bunting spelling out Nadolig Llawen above the welcoming fire.
Beginning at noon, old friends and new greeted one another as they sampled cheese, crackers, and cruditee: some toasted one another’s health with drinks from the open bar. Many explored the sales table with items from Wales; a warm looking scarf proclaiming “Cymru am Byth” was among the first items to find a new home. Others browsed the information table and display board or considered which basket of Welsh-related items they would most like to win in the tea-cup auction.
WSWNE President, Susan Davies Sit, officially welcomed the assembly and asked Mark Spencer to provide the invocation; it included good wishes to all, but particularly to all the people of Wales. There followed the annual popping of traditional British Christmas crackers, donated by members Magdalen and Glyn Dowden, with the usual merriment evoked by the donning of colored paper crowns and the calling out of enclosed riddles.
The luncheon followed; this year set out buffet style. It was delicious and was followed by home-made Welsh Cakes by Beth Roberts Brown and Shirley Gilmartin.
Before introducing the featured speaker, President Sit asked for help in finding a new Massachusetts venue for next year’s Christmas event. All three major WSWNE luncheons were held in Connecticut this year because no proposed Massachusetts restaurant met our needs.
She also introduced new member Warren Morgan and referred everyone to the newsletter and website (WelshWNE.org) for details on other announcements.
Our speaker, Thomas Leigh, a Scottish Gaelic language instructor from the Callanish School of Celtic Arts, gave a fascinating talk on the history of Celtic Languages. He presented an impressive breadth and depth of information about the origins, spread, and comparative features of the various languages associated with the people of Scotland, Ireland, and Wales, plus Breton and the Isle of Man’s language of Manx. His many-faceted prepared remarks stimulated an extensive question and answer period. Links to YouTube videos of both Thomas Leigh’s presentation and the lively Q & A are posted on our website: WelshWNE.org.
After winning tickets were drawn for the three baskets of Welsh-related items, the afternoon concluded with the singing of the Welsh song “Deck the Halls” and the Welsh national anthem, “Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau”.
By Edward Brown, WSWNE Board member.