Wales, United Kingdom.
A petition to change the official name of Wales to the Welsh Cymru is gaining momentum.
In a bid to embrace its unique language and culture, the petition has surpassed the 10,000-signature threshold required for consideration in the Senedd, Wales’ devolved parliament.
The petition, initiated by Arfon Jones from Old Colwyn, argues that the name “Wales” is essentially not Welsh and has been imposed due to its English connection since 1282.
Jones states, “Hardly anyone has heard of Cymru or realizes that we have our own unique language and culture, which is totally different from the other countries within the United Kingdom.”
Former North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, also called Arfon Jones, who supports the petition, emphasizes the potential benefits, stating, “It will make people more aware of the Welsh language and would be a great boost for Welsh business and politics.”
Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford acknowledges the trend of using Welsh titles, expressing no objection to the term “Cymru.”
He notes that organizations like the Football Association of Wales have already adopted this practice. However, Drakeford underscores a personal reservation, stating, “I would not want people to be in a position where they were obliged to… all my life I have thought of Wales as Wales.”
The petition echoes previous attempts for a name change, citing the example of the Brecon Beacons, which recently adopted its Welsh name, Bannau Brycheiniog.
The petition argues that Wales’s anglicized name, derived from an old Anglo-Saxon term for “foreigners,” has been imposed on the country. Over 3,000 people have already supported the call to exclusively use the Welsh name, Cymru.
Rachel Garrick, a county councillor and executive member of Labour for an Independent Wales, backs the petition, emphasizing the importance of embracing Welsh culture and identity.
She notes the global trend of countries adopting their native names, such as Turkey changing its official name to Türkiye.
As the petition gains momentum, it sparks a broader discussion about Welsh identity and the potential impact of officially adopting the name “Cymru.”
While some see it as a crucial step in preserving Welsh culture, others, including the First Minister, highlight the challenge of breaking away from the long-standing association with the name “Wales.”
The petition remains open until June 13, 2024, with the potential for a Senedd debate looming if it continues to attract support. As Wales contemplates this linguistic shift, the debate reflects a nuanced exploration of identity, language, and the historical context of the nation’s nomenclature.