Hwyl

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Hwyl

A special characteristic of traditional Welsh revivalist preaching, indicating a surge of intense emotional and spiritual fervor released by chanting. Hwyl is also Welsh for "the sails of a ship," and a possible derivation is that as a breeze (awel ) fills the sails and transports the vessel, so a strong current of emotion lifts the spiritual awareness of the preacher and his congregation.

Traditional Welsh revivalism is comparable with the fervor of Kentucky backwoods preaching. The congregation catches the spirit of the preacher and shouts deeply felt responses of Bendigedig! (Praise the Lord!) or Diolch byth! (Amen!). The hwyl is sometimes induced by chanting the attributes of God in a rhythmic sequence.