Calan Gaeaf


Calan Gaeaf

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

Customs

*Coelcerth: Families build a fire and place stones with their name in 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.

ee also

*Samhain
*Halloween
*Day of the Dead
*Allantide


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