Christmas as in any other country is one of the favourite time of the year for welsh people. There are ample traditions and customs associated with Christmas in Wales and most of them have resemblances to that of England that they maintain almost all traditions maintained by English. In Wales, the Christmas is celebrated for twelve days with some traditions termed as religious and some as secular. However, even before Christmas visits their households, the houses are decorated with mistletoe and holly. As Welsh people are known for being great lovers of music, carol singing also forms an indispensible part of Christmas. People go around houses and streets with each village having a choir of singers. Maro llwyd, Taffy Making and YNadolig are some of the few traditions which make the Welsh people crazy. Mentioned below are some Christmas traditions and customs of Wales. Read on to get familiarised with it.
Customs, Traditions & Celebrations
The people of Wales are great lovers of music with carol singing becoming an indispensible part of the celebrations. People sing lot of Christmas songs with the playing of harp as people sing around homes, Christmas trees and churches. It is during the dawn that the carolers do their rounds after which they wake the family members from sleep and ask them for refreshments. Every year, each village will have its own set of choir singers with a new set of words being distributed to all over the villages. Each group competes each other which is judged in national level. The winning tune is sung by all the choirs.
The carolling in Wales is known as eisteddfodddee and one person from the villages is chosen as Maro llwyd which is a pre-Christian tradition which is still carried out in Wales. He travels all through Wales wearing white clothes with a skull of horse.
Resemblances To English
Welsh people celebrate Christmas almost in the same way as English people celebrate though some traces exist which makes them distinctive. Most of the Christmas celebrations which is associated with England which includes holly, mistletoe, pudding, carols, Christmas stockings, oranges, crackers and snow are maintained and celebrated by welsh people too. A few days before Christmas, houses are decorated with lights, trinkets and paper decorations. However, now, artificial Christmas trees decorate the houses and Christmas witnesses the exchange of gifts and a traditional feast follows with roasted turkey, vegetables and Christmas pudding.
Taffy making forms one of the most important in Welsh Christmas. A special kind of chewy coffee is made from Brown sugar and butter which is boiled and pulled so that it becomes lovely and glossy. On Christmas Eve, people would make treacle toffee and decorate the houses with mistletoe and holly. This taffy will be curled into differed shapes.
Y Nadolig (Christmas)
In many areas of Wales, people attend early church services which is known by the name, 'Plygain" (daybreak), between 3 AM and 6 AM. In churches in rural areas, people sing carols for three to four hours. This tradition which has been the custom is continued for many years. After prayers, a day of feasting would begin.
Gwyl San Steffan (St. Stephens Day; Boxing Day - December 26th)
Wales celebrates the day after Christmas in a unique manner. It includes the tradition of 'holly beating' or 'holming'. Young men would beat the ladies with holly branches till they are bled. As per traditions, the last person who gets out of bed in the morning would get beaten up till they are bled. There were also traditions and customs in which animals were bled which was considered good for the animals.
Another major tradition in welsh Christmas is Calenigg. Started as a Roman custom of giving olive branches on New Year as a symbol of peace, it got lost somewhere between and started to be represented as a symbol of good luck. Calenigg is an apple with three legs or twigs to which you stick almonds with a small spray of evergreen on the top. The Calenigg is handed over to the children who take it to the neighbourhood by singing carol songs. They receive pennies or candies in exchange for the luck which the Calenigg bring.
There are plenty of interesting traditions and customs associated with Christmas in England. Hope this article gave you an idea about Christmas celebrations in Wales.
There are plenty of interesting Christmas customs, traditions and celebrations in Wales. Read through to know more about it.