Tuesday, September 18

Lehigh Valley, PA Celtic Heritage

Dear Uncle Edwin,
Can you tell me any thing about the Lehigh Valley’s Celtic heritage? I’ve been wondering just how Celtic we really are.

Dear LV Celt,

The Celtic heritage of our fair Valley is well established, and I’m happy to let ye in on it.
The first settlers in the Lehigh Valley were Irishmen from Northern Ireland (Ulster) an were of Scotch-Irish descent, though, they considered themse’ves ta be Irish-givin Irish names to many of the outlaying areas. They came to the New World ta escape the dredful famines happ’in o’er there after the collapse of Ulster in the 1700’s.
Many of these brave souls settled down in Philadelphia, while other searched for farm land to the west and north. One of these roving bands, led by Colonel Thomas Craig, wandered north to the Lehigh Valley in 1728. They settled on land between the Hokendauqua and Monocacy Creeks, following the Catasauqua Creek south to the Lehigh river. The settlement became known, rightly enough, as Craig’s Settlement or Irish Settlement, and it was centered near Weavertown in Allen Township and extended south in ta portions of Allentown, Bethlehem and Catasauqua.
Ho’ever, as in most good tales, there was a catch. The land that they ultimately settled upon had been guaranteed to the native Leni Lanape and Delaware Indian tribes by William Penn, and after the infamous Walking Purchase of 1737, most of the Ulstermen’s claims upon the land became illegal. The displaced natives raided and killed many settlers, who of course retaliated in kind.
Then, wonderfully enough, in 1739, William Allen (Royal Chief Justice of Pennsylvania and a creditor of the Penns) was granted 1,345 acres of land east of the Lehigh and Hokendauqua Creek, which he sold to the Irish settlers for a tidy sum. Allen also sold 400 acres to one original Irish settler, Hugh Wilson, with the stipulation that he build a grist mill. Wilson, along with Colonel Martin of Bethlehem, laid out the city plan for Easton shortly after the Walking Purchase, probably at the request of John and Thomas Penn, sons of William Penn.
Today, the Lehigh Valley’s Celtic people remain a distinct group, whose heritage is celebrated each year at the Celtic Classic!  Hope that helps ye.


Thursday, March 1

Happy St. David's Day!

Saint David's Day (Welsh: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant) is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on March 1st each year. The date of March 1st was chosen in remembrance of the death of Saint David on that day in 589, and has been celebrated by followers since then. The date was declared a national day of celebration within Wales in the 18th century.
In 2003, in the United States, St. David's Day was recognised officially as the national day of the Welsh, and on March 1st the Empire State Building was floodlit in the Welsh national colors, red, green and white. It is invariably celebrated by Welsh societies throughout the world with dinners, parties, recitals and concerts.
To celebrate the day, people wear a symbol of either a leek, or daffodil. The leek is patriotic, arising from an occasion when a troop of Welsh were able to distinguish each other from a troop of English enemy dressed in similar fashion by wearing leeks. An alternative emblem developed in recent years is the daffodil, used and preferred over the leek by the British Government as it lacks the overtones of patriotic defiance associated with the leek.

The 2010 St David’s Day celebrations in Cardiff will include concerts, a parade and a food festival. Events started on February 26 with the third annual Really Welsh Food Festival in the city centre.
Soldiers from the Royal Welsh Regiment changed the guard at Cardiff Castle's south gate on February 27 and 28. Visitors to the castle on March 1st will receive a free tube of daffodil bulbs to commemorate the day. On St David’s Day, the seventh National St David’s Day Parade takes place in the city centre. Following the parade, a number of Welsh entertainers will perform from a bandstand and in the evening Cardiff Central Library will provide free entertainment and food. St. David's Hall will stage its traditional St David’s Day concert in the evening of March 1st with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC National Chorus of Wales and youth choruses.