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World Advent Calendar

by Mandy Barrow

Christmas Jokes | British Christmas | London Topic | Project Britain | Homework Help

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A traditional gift on New Years day is a 'calennig'.

What fruit do you think it is made from?


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With many thanks to The Cathedral School, Llandaff in Wales for providing the information on Christmas in Wales on this page

image Calennig

An Apple

A Calennig is an apple with three twig legs stuck with dried fruit, cloves and a spray of evergreens stuck into the top. It is a traditional Welsh decoration to give friends and families on New Years day to with them luck during the new year. Placing a calennig on the window sill or shelf will bring luck to the house.

Calennig is a Welsh word meaning "New Year celebration/gift," though literally translates to "the first day of the month," deriving from the Latin word kalends. The English word "Calendar" also has its root in this word.

In Wales, we don’t say Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, we say

“Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda”

Can you try and say it?

It is usual for people to buy one new decoration for their tree each year.

A special time for Jack is when he places the Baby Jesus in the Nativity on Christmas Eve.

image: nativity

Lots of children go to church on Christmas Eve

When Rebecca leaves church on Christmas Eve she takes something special with her- “On the way out we are allowed to take some sparkly dust and we sprinkle it all over our front lawn so that Santa and his reindeer can see where they are going.”

Taffy - an old Welsh Christmas Eve custom

Toffee was boiled in pans on open fires and dollops were dropped into icy cold water. The taffy curled into all sorts of shapes - like letters. These letters were said to represent the name of a future love one.

Fela looks forward to the time on Christmas Eve when his mum lets him climb a ladder to put the star on top of the Christmas tree.

Children hang stocking at the end of their beds or above the fireplace.

They leave carrots and mince pies for Santa and Rudolph.

Plygain - an old Welsh Christmas Day custom which still thrives in parts of mid Wales. Singing from 3-6am on Christmas Day

The custom in many parts of Wales was to attend a very early church service, known as "Plygain" ( 'Plygain' means 'Cockcrow'), between 3am. and 6am. During the three hour service the carols were traditionally sung by men and without accompaniment.

Most children are share their Christmas with family and lots have their lunch with Grandads, Grandmas, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Breakfast is often a traditional English breakfast with bacon, sausages and fried eggs.

Jemima opens the presents in her stocking early in the morning but has to wait until after lunch for the rest- she says, “I stare at the presents under the tree for what seems like days!”

For Christmas dinner Welsh families eat vegetables, turkey, gravy, stuffing, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets and cranberry sauce.

People usually have a Christmas pudding for desert, Dhruv tells us “I love it when my dad pours alcohol over the pudding and sets it alight!”

Image: Christmas Pudding

A coin is sometimes hidden in the Christmas pudding and whoever finds it gets to make a special wish.

Hebe lives on a farm. She always leaves water and silage for Rudolph on Christmas Eve! On Boxing Day she goes to watch the village hunt set off.

Boxing Day Hunt
Boxing Day Fox Hunt

Some children receive gifts at different times; Jack tells us that “I open my presents from Santa on Christmas morning and then my presents from my mum and dad after lunch. On Boxing Day, I visit my step-sisters and open my presents from them and then on New Year’s Eve we go and visit friends and open our final presents.”

GWYL SAN STEFFAN (Boxing Day - St. Stephens Day- 26 December)

Lots of people have a meal on Boxing Day made from the leftovers on Christmas Day. Some have cold meat and chips, some have a turkey curry and some have another roast dinner!

On Boxing Day people often go to watch a football or a rugby match.

image: MariMari Lwyd (in Welsh, Y Fari Lwyd) An old Welsh Christmas/New Year custom. The grey mare that brings good luck

The Mari is a horse’s skull decorated with ribbons and bells. The head is mounted on a pole and is covered by a sheet designed to hide the operator. The Mari is believed to bring good luck and fertility to the houses it visits.

On New Years Eve is goes from house to house tapping on the window with the skull. The people inside open the door and the Mari Lwyd group starts to sing. The family answer by singing a different verse and this would go on till the people in the house would invite the Mari and friends in for food and drink.

Lots of people celebrate New Year’s Eve by having fireworks and parties.

Click here for facts about Wales


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Merry Christmas to The Cathedral School


Bonus Country!

Find out how Christmas is celebrated in a hot country.

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Mandy left Woodlands in 2003 to work in Kent schools as an ICT Consulatant.
She now teaches computers at The Granville School and St. John's Primary School in Sevenoaks Kent.

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