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
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.