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Posted - 04-01-2011

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Calennig, calennig!

A happy new year to you all!
I wonder how many youngsters spent the morning of new year’s day singing ‘calennig’ from house to house with the hope of being given a pound or two and some sweets left over from Christmas? New year’s day has always been important in the Welsh calendar and children would traditionally go about the locality singing good wishes for the New Year before mid-day. They would usually carry a decorated apple to represent good luck. Three sticks would form legs for the apple with nuts and evergreen leaves pushed into the flesh. The apple would then be displayed in either the home or given as a good luck present.

Each locality would have it’s own song, in mid Wales for example they sing:

Blwyddyn Newydd dda i chi
A happy new year to you
Ac i bawb sydd yn y tŷ
And to everyone in the house
Dyma fy nymuniad i
This is my wish
Blwyddyn Newydd dda i chi
A happy new year to you

The People’s Collection Wales website has interesting early photographs of children collecting calennig in Llangynwyd. The children seem somewhat glum, maybe because it wasn’t all that profitable a morning! There are no later photographs on the site showing the tradition across Wales therefore if you have some photographs you would like to contribute relating to new year’s day traditions or have different versions of the song, why not add them today by following the simple show me how guide?

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A blog about the work and collections of the National Library of Wales.

Due to the more personal nature of blogs it is the Library's policy to publish postings in the original language only. An equal number of blog posts are published in both Welsh and English, but they are not the same postings. For a translation of the blog readers may wish to try facilities such as Google Translate.

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