Wales will face off with England in the World Cup on Tuesday, November 29, in a match that is sure to have people across the UK glued to their screens.
Wales’s participation in the World Cup is historic for another reason, as it is the first time Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, Wales’s national anthem, has been sung at the tournament.
The anthem, and the passion of both the team and the fans while singing it, have impressed football fans from all over the world.
Origins of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, originally called Glan Rhondda, was written in 1856 by the father-son duo Evan James and James James, from Pontypridd.
It is thought Evan wrote the lyrics in response to his brother’s wishes for him to join him in the USA, where he had recently emigrated to.
In 1858, the song was performed at Llangollen Eisteddfod (an annual celebration of Welsh arts and culture), after which it became more widely known around Wales.
The song, since renamed Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau, was then included in a collection of songs called Gems of Welsh Melody, published in 1860.
It continued to become more popular at the end of the 19th century and became one of the first Welsh songs to be recorded.
Today, it is considered to be the unofficial anthem of Wales, despite numerous attempts to have it officially recognised.
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History of Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau at sporting events
It is thought that Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau was first sung at a sporting match in 1905, when rugby player Teddy Morgan led his team in singing the song in response to the New Zealand team’s haka.
The anthem became a popular song to sing at sporting events during the 20th century, but it wasn’t until 1975 that officials decided that Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau should be sung alone, without being followed by God Save the Queen.
In fact, when Wales last qualified for the World Cup in 1958, the team only sang God Save the Queen.
Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau lyrics
The first verse and the chorus are as follows:
Mae hen wlad fy nhadau yn annwyl i mi,
Gwlad beirdd a chantorion, enwogion o fri;
Ei gwrol ryfelwyr, gwladgarwyr tra mâd,
Tros ryddid gollasant eu gwaed.
Gwlad, Gwlad, pleidiol wyf i’m gwlad,
Tra môr yn fur i’r bur hoff bau,
O bydded i’r heniaith barhau.
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Welsh anthem in English
In English, the lyrics mean:
This land of my fathers is dear to me
Land of poets and singers, and people of stature
Her brave warriors, fine patriots
Shed their blood for freedom.
Land, Land, I am true to my land,
As long as the sea serves as a wall
For this pure, dear land
May the language endure forever.