New Year's Gift

Plant yn casglu Calennig yn Llangynwyd

The giving of gifts on New Year's Day is an ancient custom. In Wales it took the form of collecting calennig (New Year's Gift). Children would form groups and go from house to house, bearing good wishes for the health and prosperity of the family during the year to come. This was symbolised by the skewered apples, stuck with corn and sprigs of evergreen, which they carried in their hands. Verses were sung at the door of the house, and they would receive small gifts of food or money for their troubles.

Latterly, the carrying of the apple has been discontinued, and only the recitation of a few verses and the collecting of new pennies mark the custom in those districts where it has survived.

Here is a verse sung in Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire:

Calennig

Mi godais heddiw ma's o'm tŷ
A'm cwd a'm pastwn gyda mi,
A dyma'm neges ar eich traws,
Sef llanw'm cwd â bara a chaws.

(I left my house today
With my bag and my stick,
And here is my message to you,
Fill my bag with bread and cheese.)

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