[Christine O’Keeffe’s Halloween Customs]
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Nos Calan Gaeaf: In Wales the first day of winter is called Calan Gaeaf: Winter Season. And the night before is Nos Calan Gaeaf: Winter Night or Ysbrydnos: Spirit Night. It is the year’s most frightening time. Spirits are abroad. People avoid churchyards, stiles, and crossroads; since spirits are thought to gather there.
  1. Coelcerth: Bonfire Families build a fire and place white stones with their name or mark in it. When the flames are out one bonfire maker raises a cry & everyone runs away so they will not be the last person there. The person whose stone is missing the next morning would die within the year. Finding the stone is good luck. The black sow roams the countryside with a headless woman. (6) Black pigs can see the wind. When they run about vivaciously or with straws or grass hanging out of their jaws, it is taken as a sign of coming storm. (20)

    Yr hwch, ddu gwta. A gipio’ir ola.
    May the black sow without a tail seize the hindmost.

    Hwch ddu gwta. Ar bob camfa. Yn nyddu a chardio Bob nos G’langaea
    A cutty black sow, On every stile, Spinning and carding Every Allhallows’ Eve. (6)

  2. Eiddiorwg dalen: Ivy Leaves: A few leaves of ground ivy will 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 briar: wild rose grown into a hoop, creep through it three times, cut it in silence, and go to bed with it under her pillow. (20)
  3. Teiliwr: Tailors: In Glamorgan tailors are associated with witchcraft. They possess the power to ‘bewitch’ anybody if they wish. gwniyddes is welsh for seamstress. Pontypridd, South Wales is the Druid religious center of Wales marked by a stone circle and an altar on a hill. The stones are people changed to that form by the power of a witch [salt magic]. (20)

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© 1998. Christine O’Keeffe, Ver. 3.0. Monday, March 11, 2002