Hen Galan day - happy old New Year!

Friday 13 January 2012, 10:16

BBC Wales History BBC Wales History

People living in the Gwaun Valley near Fishguard in Pembrokeshire will spend today welcoming in the new year.

They are not late celebrating the arrival of the new year, instead they are celebrating Han Galan, or old new year, according to the Julian calendar, which was followed by everyone in the UK until it was replaced by the Gregorian calendar in the 18th century.

However, the people of the Gwaun Valley near Fishguard in Pembrokeshire ignored this change and continued to welcome in the new year by the old Julian date.

Children continue to uphold the centuries-old tradition of walking from house to house to visit neighbours and sing them traditional songs in Welsh.

Teacher Ruth Morgan, in a BBC Wales News article, describes a typical Hen Galan day:

"You'd get up, have breakfast and go out to sing in the local houses, wishing them a happy New Year. They gave us sweets and money as 'calennig'.

"Nobody organises anything - parents just take their children around and this is passed on from one generation to another."

Read more about the Hen Galan day celebrations on the BBC Wales News website.


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