Calan Gaeaf is the recognition of the first day of winter in Wales. According to Wikipedia, “People avoid churchyards, stiles, and crossroads, since spirits are thought to gather there.” (Wikipedia – Calan Gaeaf) Avoiding churchyards and stiles is easy enough, but I’ll be passing a LOT of crossroads on the way to work and back home again. Other regional traditions include placing stones with names written on them into a fire to see who may die within the year, cutting ivy leaves and wild roses to get prophetic dreams, and rushing home before dark to avoid Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta, a spirit in the form of a tailless black sow accompanied by a headless woman.
Those are all pretty difficult for us to participate in. I’m hoping that proudly displaying our Welsh flag will suffice, instead.
Do you celebrate Calan Gaeaf? Share your stories in the comments!