How about including a short Welsh language greeting in your Christmas or New Year cards or gift tags this year.
- Merry Christmas
Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda
- Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
- Warm greetings
- Good wishes
- Best wishes
Pob dymuniad da
- Every good wish
Gyda phob dymuniad da
- With every good wish
...am Nadolig Llawen (a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda)
- ...for a Merry Christmas (and a Happy New Year)
- Every blessing
Gan ddumuno iechyd a hapusrwydd i chi yn 2003
- Wishing you health and happiness in 2003
oddi wrth / gan
- From (a person)
Why not re-live an old Welsh custom this Christmas?
Taffy-making. This is how families whiled away the dark hours of Christmas Eve's night.
Toffee was boiled in pans on open fires and - this is a nice twist - dollops were dropped into icy cold water. The taffy curled into all sorts of shapes - like letters. This was a way of divining the initials of the younger, unmarried family members' future loves.
TAFFY (Everton Toffee)
1 lb. of powdered loaf sugar,
1 teacupful of water,
¼ lb. of butter,
6 drops of essence of lemon.
Mode:- Put the water and sugar into a brass pan, and beat the butter to a cream. When the sugar is dissolved, add the butter and keep stirring the mixture over the fire until it sets, when a little is poured on to a buttered dish; and just before the toffee is done, add the essence of lemon. Butter a dish or tin, pour on it the mixture, and when cool, it will easily separate from the dish.
Time:-18 to 35 minutes.
Sufficient to make 1lb. of toffee.
Was trick or treat
invented in Wales?
Well, for centuries here in Wales, something very similar has been going on. Not at Hallowe'en, but on New Year's Day. Ever heard of calennig?
From dawn until noon on New Year's Day, all around Wales, groups of young boys would go from door to door, carrying three-legged totems, chanting rhymes, splashing people with water and asking for calennig - gifts of small change.
MAKE YOUR OWN CALENNIG
Take three short sticks - as long as lollipop sticks - and stick them into the bottom of an apple, as if they were stool legs. Now pepper the apple all round, hedgehog-style, with cloves, almonds, corn ears, etc. Stick a sprig of holly and a candle in the top of the calennig. Come New Year's Day, you'll be ready to play
Holly is a symbol of eternal life. Other evergreens to bring into your home this Christmas include ivy, rosemary, bay leaves and, of course, mistletoe.
If you take a candle to church this Christmas, don't bring it home, blow it out and leave it there with the vicar for good luck.
Mistletoe is a magical plant. It keeps evil spirits away as well as offering a good excuse to improve your love life.
Keep that Yule log blazing in your open fire. It's considered bad luck to light a fresh fire during the twelve days of Christmas.
On New Year's Day it's considered bad luck if the first visitor at your house has red hair. Best luck comes from a knock at the door by a man you don't know with black hair.
Try to repay all debts and push the bank-balance into the black before the New Year. Tradition states that ending a year in debt means a whole new year of debt.
Lending anything - even a candle - on New Year's Day is considered unlucky.
If you make a calennig for New Year's Day, don't throw it away afterwards. Put it to stand on your window sill and it will bring you good luck for as long as it stands there.
If you burn a Yule log this Christmas, keep the ashes to bury along with your plant seeds in the spring. Superstition dictates that you'll be assured of a bumper crop.
Remember to take down every last Christmas decoration before the end of the evening of January 5th. It's seen as bad luck to keep trimmings up after Twelfth Night.
Just as we drink mulled wine and punch at Christmas and New Year parties nowadays, a Welsh Christmas at the turn of the century involved drinking from the wassail bowl. These bowls were often elaborate, ornate and many-handled. The bowl was filled with fruit, sugar, spices and topped up with warm beer. As it was passed around, the drinkers would make a wish for a successful year's farming and a bumper crop at harvest time.
HUNTING THE WREN
On Twelfth Night in Wales, groups of men would go out Hunting the Wren. The tiny bird would be caged in a wooden box and carried from door to door. Householders would pay for the privilege of peeping at the poor wren in the box.
Back to the
Back to the
Phrases and Traditions
for the Holidays