Get Our Extension

Traditional festival days of Wales

From Wikipedia, in a visual modern way

Various traditions are practiced on certain days of the year in Wales both currently and historically, including festivities originating in Welsh, Celtic, English and Christian cultures.

Discover more about Traditional festival days of Wales related topics

Wales

Wales

Wales is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It is bordered by England to the east, the Irish Sea to the north and west, the Celtic Sea to the south west and the Bristol Channel to the south. It had a population in 2021 of 3,107,500 and has a total area of 20,779 km2 (8,023 sq mi). Wales has over 1,680 miles (2,700 km) of coastline and is largely mountainous with its higher peaks in the north and central areas, including Snowdon, its highest summit. The country lies within the north temperate zone and has a changeable, maritime climate. The capital and largest city is Cardiff.

Celts

Celts

The Celts or Celtic peoples are a collection of Indo-European peoples in Europe and Anatolia, identified by their use of Celtic languages and other cultural similarities. Historical Celtic groups included the Britons, Boii, Celtiberians, Gaels, Gauls, Gallaeci, Galatians, Lepontii and their offshoots. The relation between ethnicity, language and culture in the Celtic world is unclear and debated; for example over the ways in which the Iron Age people of Britain and Ireland should be called Celts. In current scholarship, 'Celt' primarily refers to 'speakers of Celtic languages' rather than to a single ethnic group.

Christian culture

Christian culture

Christian culture generally includes all the cultural practices which have developed around the religion of Christianity. There are variations in the application of Christian beliefs in different cultures and traditions.

History

As recorded in the Laws of Hywel Dda, the three main holidays (gwyliau) of the medieval Welsh kingdoms were Christmas (Nadolig), Easter (Pasg), and Whitsuntide (Sulgwyn).[1]

Other important holidays were the feasts of St Patrick (Gwyl Badric) on 17 March; St. Quiricus (Gwyl Giric) on 16 June; the Beheading of John the Baptist (called in Welsh Gwyl Ieuan y Moch – St. John of the Swine – as it was the day the pigs were turned out into the woods to forage through the winter[2]) on 29 August; St Michael (Gwyl Fihangel) on 29 September; and the Calends of Winter (Calan Gaeaf) on 1 November, All Saints' Day (yr Holl Saint).[3] A special drink called the "liquor of the Apostles" (gwirawd yr ebestyl) was brewed for and distributed on these saints' days.[4]

Discover more about History related topics

Christmas

Christmas

Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, observed primarily on December 25 as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people around the world. A feast central to the Christian liturgical year, it is preceded by the season of Advent or the Nativity Fast and initiates the season of Christmastide, which historically in the West lasts twelve days and culminates on Twelfth Night. Christmas Day is a public holiday in many countries, is celebrated religiously by a majority of Christians, as well as culturally by many non-Christians, and forms an integral part of the holiday season organized around it.

Easter

Easter

Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus Christ, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick

Saint Patrick was a fifth-century Romano-British Christian missionary and bishop in Ireland. Known as the "Apostle of Ireland", he is the primary patron saint of Ireland, the other patron saints being Brigit of Kildare and Columba. Patrick was never formally canonised, having lived prior to the current laws of the Catholic Church in these matters. Nevertheless, he is venerated as a Saint in the Catholic Church and in the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is regarded as equal-to-the-apostles and Enlightener of Ireland.

John the Baptist

John the Baptist

John the Baptist was a Judaean mission preacher active in the area of Jordan River in the early 1st century AD. He is also known as John the Forerunner in Christianity, John the Immerser in some Baptist Christian traditions, and Prophet Yahya in Islam. He is sometimes alternatively referred to as John the Baptiser.

Modern celebrations

New Year's Eve – 31 December

New year's eve in Wales nowadays includes attending pantomimes, theatre shows and parties.[5] The Nos Galan road race is also held in Mountain Ash.[6]

Hen Galan (Old New Year) – 14 January

Mari Lwyd
Mari Lwyd

The Mari Lwyd ("Grey Mare") is a horse-figure that is carried from door to door by wassail-singing groups during Hen Galan (Old New Year) celebrations in some communities in Wales.[7][8][9]

St Dwynwen's Day (Dydd Santes Dwynwen) – 25 January

Eglwys Santes Dwynwen (Church)
Eglwys Santes Dwynwen (Church)

Celebrated on 25 January every year, St Dwynwen Day (Dydd Santes Dwynwen) is the Welsh day of love, equivalent to St. Valentine's Day.[10]

St David's Day (Dydd Gwyl Dewi) – 1 March

Saint David's Day parade, Cardiff in 2015.
Saint David's Day parade, Cardiff in 2015.

The patron saint of Wales is St David (Welsh: Dewi Sant) and St. David's Day (Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant) is celebrated on 1 March.[11] Some people argue it should be designated as a bank holiday.

Easter Sunday (Sul y Pasg)

On Easter Sunday, children receive chocolate easter eggs from the "easter bunny" and engage in chocolate egg hunts. Hot cross bunns are eaten and Easter greetings include "Happy Easter" in English or "Pasg Hapus" in Welsh.[12][13]

Shrove Tuesday (Dydd Mawrth Ynyd) or Pancake Day

Shrove Tuesday was historically held on the eve of the Christian fasting period of Lent, and is traditionally celebrated with the making of pancakes.[14]

Owain Glyndŵr Day (Diwrnod Glyndŵr) – 16 September

Owain Glyndŵr day celebration, Corwen 2017.
Owain Glyndŵr day celebration, Corwen 2017.

Although not a traditional holiday, many schools and organisations now commemorate the 16 September as a commemoration of Owain Glyndŵr, with festivals such as Gŵyl y Fflam (Festival of the flame) to celebrate it.[15][16][17] In addition, towns with particular links to Glyndwr celebrate the day, including Corwen and Harlech.[18][19]

Calan Gaeaf – 31 October – 1 November

Historically, a commemoration of end of the autumn and harvest season and the beginning of winter. It has Celtic origins which merged with the Christian tradition.[20]

Bonfire Night (Noson Tân Gwyllt) – 5 November

On 5th of November, a night of fireworks occurs that began after Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in England.[14]

Christmas (Nadolig) – 25 December

Christmas in Wales traditionally involved singing Plygain, toffee-making and torch processions in Wales.[21]

Boxing Day / St Stephen's Day (Gwyl San Steffan) – 26 December

Celebrated on 26 December, in Wales Boxing Day or St. Stephen's Day is known as Gŵyl San Steffan in Welsh.[22]

Discover more about Modern celebrations related topics

Nos Galan road race

Nos Galan road race

Nos Galan is an annual five-kilometre road running event, held on New Year's Eve in Mountain Ash, in the Cynon Valley of South Wales.

Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf

Mountain Ash, Rhondda Cynon Taf

Mountain Ash is a town and former community in the Cynon Valley, within the County Borough of Rhondda Cynon Taf, Wales, with a population of 11,230 at the 2011 Census, estimated in 2019 at 11,339. It includes the districts and villages of Cefnpennar, Cwmpennar, Caegarw, Darranlas, Fernhill, Glenboi and Newtown, all within the historic county boundaries of Glamorgan. Aberdare lies about 4.5 miles (7.2 km) north-west, Cardiff 19 miles (31 km) south-east, and Penrhiwceiber a mile to the south-east. It divides into two communities : West covers the town centre and the districts of Miskin, Darranlas, Fernhill and Glenboi, and East the districts of Cefnpennar, Cwmpennar, Caegarw and Newtown.

Mari Lwyd

Mari Lwyd

The Mari Lwyd is a wassailing folk custom found in South Wales. The tradition entails the use of an eponymous hobby horse which is made from a horse's skull mounted on a pole and carried by an individual hidden under a sackcloth.

Old New Year

Old New Year

The Old New Year, or the Orthodox New Year, is an informal traditional holiday, celebrated as the start of the New Year by the Julian calendar. In the 20th and 21st centuries, the Old New Year falls on January 14 in the Gregorian calendar.

Dwynwen

Dwynwen

Saint Dwynwen, sometimes known as Dwyn or Donwen, is the Welsh patron saint of lovers. She is celebrated throughout Wales on 25 January.

Saint David's Day

Saint David's Day

Saint David's Day, or the Feast of Saint David, is the feast day of Saint David, the patron saint of Wales, and falls on 1 March, the date of Saint David's death in 589 AD. The feast has been regularly celebrated since the canonisation of David in the 12th century, by Pope Callixtus II, although it is not a public holiday in the UK, with some unofficially celebrating the day.

Patron saint

Patron saint

A patron saint, patroness saint, patron hallow or heavenly protector is a saint who in Catholicism, Anglicanism, or Eastern Orthodoxy is regarded as the heavenly advocate of a nation, place, craft, activity, class, clan, family, or person.

Proposed St David's Day bank holiday

Proposed St David's Day bank holiday

Saint David's Day is currently not a bank holiday in Wales. Some Welsh politicians have proposed that St David's Day, a celebration of Welsh identity, observed on 1 March, be designated as a public holiday. Polls show the proposal to have majority support in Wales. The UK Government holds the power to designate public holidays in Wales, and has refused proposals for either designating the day or devolving powers to the Welsh Government, which supports the proposal. The UK Government stated that designating the day would not be feasible due to the large numbers of commuters crossing the England–Wales border, as well as the economic impact of the proposal. In response to the UK Government's refusal, some public bodies in Wales have unofficially designated the day to be a holiday for their staff. Wales and England have eight public holidays, Scotland has nine, Northern Ireland has ten, whereas the average in Europe is twelve annual holidays.

Bank holiday

Bank holiday

A bank holiday is a national public holiday in the United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland and the Crown Dependencies. The term refers to all public holidays in the United Kingdom, be they set out in statute, declared by royal proclamation or held by convention under common law.

Hot cross bun

Hot cross bun

A hot cross bun is a spiced sweet bun usually made with fruit, marked with a cross on the top, and has been traditionally eaten on Good Friday in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, India, Pakistan and the United States. They are available all year round in some places, including the UK.

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday

Shrove Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday, observed in many Christian countries through participating in confession and absolution, the ritual burning of the previous year's Holy Week palms, finalizing one's Lenten sacrifice, as well as eating pancakes and other sweets.

Owain Glyndŵr Day

Owain Glyndŵr Day

Owain Glyndŵr Day is held annually on 16 September in Wales, as a celebration of Owain Glyndŵr, the last native Prince of Wales and founder of the first Welsh Parliament.

Festivals no longer widely celebrated

These are festivals that were once widely celebrated in Wales but are no longer so.

Calennig is a tradition where children carry a decorated apple, pierced with three sticks and decorated with a sprig of box and hazelnuts on new year's day. Children would sing a verse and were often gifted with money or food.[23]

Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau usually on the 2 February, literally translates as "Mary's Festival of the Candles" marked the coming of Spring in Wales.[14]

Locally, each parish celebrated a Gŵyl Mabsant in commemoration of its native saint. This annual celebration developed from a dedication through prayer to a programme of recreational activities.[24]

Calan Mai (or Calan Had) is a May Day celebration on 1 May, marking the first day of summer and the Welsh equivalent of Beltane.

Gwyl Ifan (St John's Day) on the 24 June is otherwise known as Midsummer's day.

Discover more about Festivals no longer widely celebrated related topics

Calennig

Calennig

Calennig is a Welsh word meaning "New Year celebration/gift", although it literally translates to "the first day of the month", deriving from the Latin word kalends. The English word "Calendar" also has its root in this word.

Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau

Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau

Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau is a Welsh name of Candlemas, celebrated on 2 February. It was derived from the pre-Reformation ceremony of blessing the candles and distributing them to be carried in a procession. However, just as this Christian ceremony drew on pagan festivals connected with the coming of the Spring, some of the old practices that carried on in parts of Wales until the 20th century suggest older rituals.

Gŵyl Mabsant

Gŵyl Mabsant

A Gŵyl Mabsant, also known as the patronal festival or Wake of a parish, is a traditional Welsh festival held annually in commemoration of the patron saint of a parish. Prior to 1752, the corresponding fair was reckoned by the Saint's Day according to tradition or to the official Catholic or Anglican Calendar of Saints; following the shift to New Style dating, however, the fair was reckoned eleven days later. By the 19th century, the fair often began on the following Sunday and then lasted between three days and a week.

Calan Mai

Calan Mai

Calan Mai or Calan Haf is a May Day celebration in Wales held on 1 May. Events start on the evening before, known as May Eve, with bonfires; as with Calan Gaeaf or 1 November, the night before is considered an Ysbrydnos or "spirit night" when spirits are out and about and divination is possible. The tradition of lighting bonfires celebrating this occasion happened annually in South Wales until the middle of the 19th century.

May Day

May Day

May Day is a European festival of ancient origins marking the beginning of summer, usually celebrated on 1 May, around halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Festivities may also be held the night before, known as May Eve. Traditions often include gathering wildflowers and green branches, weaving floral garlands, crowning a May Queen, and setting up a Maypole, May Tree or May Bush, around which people dance. Bonfires are also part of the festival in some regions. Regional varieties and related traditions include Walpurgis Night in central and northern Europe, the Gaelic festival Beltane, the Welsh festival Calan Mai, and May devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It has also been associated with the ancient Roman festival Floralia.

Beltane

Beltane

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival. Commonly observed on the first of May, the festival falls midway between the spring equinox and summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. The festival name is synonymous with the month marking the start of summer in Ireland, May being Mí na Bealtaine. Historically, it was widely observed throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. In Irish the name for the festival day is Lá Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Latha Bealltainn, and in Manx Gaelic Laa Boaltinn/Boaldyn. Beltane is one of the principal four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain, Imbolc, and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai.

Source: "Traditional festival days of Wales", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2023, January 28th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Traditional_festival_days_of_Wales.

Enjoying Wikiz?

Enjoying Wikiz?

Get our FREE extension now!

External links
References
  1. ^ Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 2. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan. 2013.
  2. ^ Roberts, Sara E. Llawysgrif Pomffred: An Edition and Study of Peniarth MS 259B. Brill, 2011. Accessed 31 Jan 2013.
  3. ^ Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 343. Oxford University, 1909. Accessed 31 Jan 2013.
  4. ^ Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 341. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan. 2013.
  5. ^ Stephens, Lydia (2022-12-28). "The biggest New Year's Eve events in Cardiff you can still get tickets for". WalesOnline. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  6. ^ "Christmas in Wales and New Year break ideas". VisitWales. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  7. ^ "Christmas Traditions: The Mari Lwyd". Museum Wales. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  8. ^ "The Mari Lwyd". Wales. 2019-12-13. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  9. ^ "Watch: Mari Lwyd appears at Hen Galan celebrations around Wales". Nation.Cymru. 2023-01-14. Retrieved 2023-01-15.
  10. ^ "Celebrate St Dwynwen's Day". VisitWales. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  11. ^ "St David's Day celebration traditions". VisitWales. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  12. ^ Hestler, Anna; Spilling, Jo-Ann; Scirri, Kaitlin (2020-04-15). Wales. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC. p. 121. ISBN 978-1-5026-5584-4.
  13. ^ Crump, William D. (2021-02-22). Encyclopedia of Easter Celebrations Worldwide. McFarland. p. 276. ISBN 978-1-4766-8054-5.
  14. ^ a b c "A year in Wales". Wales. 2019-07-01. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  15. ^ "Mold Schoolchildren celebrate Owain Gyndwr". dailypost.co.uk. 18 April 2013.
  16. ^ Arron Evans (8 September 2019). "Corwen's Gwyl Y Fflam Festival to give guests unique look into Owain Glyndwr's home". denbighshirefreepress.co.uk.
  17. ^ Adam Jones (11 September 2015). "Celebrting Owain Glyndŵr's day".
  18. ^ "Corwen to celebrate Owain Glyndwr Day - as King Charles makes first Wales visit as monarch". The Leader. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  19. ^ "Harlech cancels procession out of respect for the Queen | cambrian-news.co.uk". Cambrian News. 2022-09-08. Retrieved 2022-09-15.
  20. ^ "Table 4: Changes in BC at the end of the previous season, at the beginning of the pre-season (after the off-season period) and at the end of the retraining period (pre-season)". dx.doi.org. doi:10.7717/peerj.7466/table-4. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  21. ^ "Welsh Christmas Traditions". Wales. 2019-12-12. Retrieved 2023-01-20.
  22. ^ "A Traditional Welsh Christmas - Christmas celebrations in Wales". Historic UK. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  23. ^ "New Year Traditions: Collecting Calennig". Museum Wales. Retrieved 2022-10-02.
  24. ^ "The forgotten festivals of Wales". Museum Wales. Retrieved 2022-10-02.

The content of this page is based on the Wikipedia article written by contributors..
The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike Licence & the media files are available under their respective licenses; additional terms may apply.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use & Privacy Policy.
Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization & is not affiliated to WikiZ.com.