Calan Gaeaf

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Calan Gaeaf is the name of the first day of winter in Wales, observed on 1 November.[1] The night before is Nos Galan Gaeaf,[1] an Ysbrydnos when spirits are abroad. People avoid churchyards, stiles, and crossroads, since spirits are thought to gather there.

Customs[edit]

  • Coelcerth: Families build a fire and place stones with their names on it. The person whose stone is missing the next morning would die within the year
  • Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta: Legend has it that a fearsome spirit called Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta took the form of a tail-less black sow and roamed the countryside with a headless woman – children would rush home early
  • Eiddiorwg Dalen: A few leaves of ground ivy is thought to give you the power to see hags. For prophetic dreams a boy should cut ten ivy leaves, throw away one and put the rest under his head before he sleeps. A girl should take a wild rose grown into a hoop, creep through it three times, cut it in silence, and go to bed with it under her pillow
  • Teiliwr: In Glamorgan tailors were associated with witchcraft. They supposedly possessed the power to ‘bewitch’ anybody if they wished

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

  • Davies, John; Jenkins, Nigel (2008). The Welsh Academy Encyclopaedia of Wales. Cardiff: University of Wales Press. ISBN 978-0-7083-1953-6. 

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Davies (2008), pg 107.