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Calennig [kaˈlɛnɪɡ] is a Welsh word meaning "New Year celebration/gift," though 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.

Celebrations in Cardiff[edit]

The capital of Wales, Cardiff, holds Calennig celebrations in the form of a three day festival to welcome in the New Year. The Calennig Lantern Parade through the city and firework displays are part of the celebrations.

On New Year's Eve, a large outdoor party with live bands is held in front of Cardiff City Hall, which also features an outdoor ice-rink (sponsored by Bmibaby), a Ferris wheel (sponsored by John Lewis), and other amusements. A family fire show is held at Cardiff Castle (sponsored by Admiral). Free bus services are provided to the city centre by Cardiff Bus every year. Celebrations are also held on the city's waterfront in Cardiff Bay.

TV coverage[edit]

The coverage of the new year fireworks display in Cardiff is televised on S4C.

Gift giving[edit]

The tradition of giving gifts and money on New Years Day is an ancient custom that survives even in modern-day Wales, though nowadays it is now customary to give bread and cheese.[1]

Many people give gifts on New Years morning, with children having skewered apples stuck with raisins and fruit.[1] In some parts of Wales, people must visit all their relatives by midday to collect their Calennig, and celebrations and traditions can vary from area to area. In Stations of the Sun (ISBN 0-19-820570-8), Ronald Hutton gives an example the following examples of 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.")[1]

Ronald Hutton also notes that in the south-east of Wales and in the Forest of Dean area, the skewered apple itself was known as the Calennig, and in its most elaborate form consisted of "an apple or orange, resting on three sticks like a tripod, smeared with flour, stuck with nuts, oats or wheat, topped with thyme or another fragrant herb and held by a skewer."[1]


  1. ^ a b c d Hutton, Ronald (1996). The Stations of The Sun. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. p. 67. ISBN 0-19-820570-8. 


  • The above rhyme has been corrected from the given version by Ronald Hutton in his book, The Stations of The Sun, which can be found on page 67.

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