Holidays in Wales
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These are the main holidays traditionally celebrated in Wales that are not shared with the rest of the United Kingdom. Except for those that fall at the same time as UK public holidays, none of these holidays are bank holidays. There is, however, much support for the recognition of St David's Day as a bank holiday in Wales, in the same way as St Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland, and St Andrew's Day in Scotland.
Many of the seasoned festivals originate in the Celtic culture of Wales, as does the manner of their celebration.
- 1 Historic Practice
- 2 Saints' Days
- 3 Seasonal festivals
- 4 External links
- 5 References
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) 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). A special drink called the "liquor of the Apostles" (gwirawd yr ebestyl) was brewed for and distributed on these saints' days.
St. David's Day
On a more localised level, 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.
Dydd Santes Dwynwen
Gŵyl San Steffan
(listed in order by date of occurrence during the year)
Nos Galan and Dydd Calan
1 January: The Welsh New Year's Eve and Day celebration involving the tradition of giving gifts or money Calennig to celebrate the new year.
Gŵyl Fair y Canhwyllau
2 February: Literally translates as "Mary's Festival of the Candles", and it is equivalent to Candlemas and Imbolc. In Paganism, the Welsh holiday name is just Gŵyl y Canhwyllau, meaning "The Festival of Candles".
20–21 March: Spring Equinox, a time of festival and drinking, the middle of Spring.
Calan Mai or Calan Haf
20–21 June: Alban Hefin, a time of festival and drinking, (Summer Solstice)
24 June: Gwyl Ifan (St John's Day), a time of festival and drinking, otherwise known as Midsummer's day.
22–23 September: Autumn Equinox, a time of festival and drinking, the middle of Autumn.
Nos Galan Gaeaf and Calan Gaeaf
21–22 December: A Winter Solstice or Midwinter festival, a time of festival and drinking, the shortest day of the year.
This poetic tradition has been celebrated in eisteddfod, a Welsh word meaning a gathering where people recite verses and sing songs.
- A list of other Medieval Welsh saints' days at Aberystwyth University (under "gwyl")
- Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 2. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan. 2013.
- Roberts, Sara E. Llawysgrif Pomffred: An Edition and Study of Peniarth MS 259B. Brill, 2011. Accessed 31 Jan 2013.
- Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 343. Oxford University, 1909. Accessed 31 Jan 2013.
- Wade-Evans, Arthur. Welsh Medieval Laws, p. 341. Oxford Univ., 1909. Accessed 31 Jan. 2013.