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04 Jan

Calennig - Welsh New Year Celebrations

Happy New Year! Blwyddyn Newydd Dda!

Children collecting Calennig in Llangynwyd 2013 is here! Have you collected your Calennig?

All over Wales, people give gifts, food or money on New Year's Day. It is a very ancient tradition that is still very alive today. As a little girl, my mam used to rush around the village visiting as many houses as possible to collect sweets and money. The visits had to be made before midday, so it was often a race against the clock!

Calennig is Welsh for "New Year celebration/gift," though it literally translates to "the first day of the month," deriving from the Latin 'kalends'. (The English word, "Calendar", also derives from this word) 

A Calennig is also the name of a skewered orange or apple in South and East Wales. It is normally decorated fragrant thyme and cloves. Do you or your family make these every new year?

Picture left: Children collecting Calennig in Llangynwyd

Here is a Calennig rhyme from 1950s Aberystwyth:

Dydd calan yw hi heddiw,
Rwy'n dyfod ar eich traws
I ofyn am y geiniog,
Neu grwst, a bara a chaws.
O dewch i'r drws yn siriol
Heb nesid dim o'ch gwedd;
Cyn daw dydd calan eto
Bydd llawer yn y bedd.
Today is the start of the new year,
and I have come to you to ask for
[my] money,
or bread, or pastry, and bread and cheese.
O come to [your] door
smiling without waking anyone up;
before the next arrival
of the new year many will be dead.

 

How did you celebrate the New Year? Do you have any Welsh traditions? Do you remember any?

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