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  • April 30, 2024 2 min read

    Calan Mai - May Day - 1st May

    Calan Mai is the first day of May and traditionally, May Day was the first day of Summer, Calan Hâf. Nos Galan Mai is the evening before May Day. The first day of May was an important time for celebration and festivities in Wales and there are some superstitions and customs still practiced today that date back to Druid times.

    BELTANE

    More widely, Beltane is the Gaelic May Day festival celebrating fertility and new growth. As a festival, it has mostly died out since the mid-20th century, but some customs continue today, and in many places, it is being revived as a cultural event. Even a Dr Who (Tom Baker) programme was based on Beltane. The Beltane fires that are traditionally observed represented purification and the banishing of disease and the ceremonies are extravagant with music costume and dancing. There is still a Beltane Fire Society in existence, based in Edinburgh Scotland.

    Nos Galan - Ysbryd Nos

    Here in Wales, history tells us that Nos Galan, May Day’s Eve was even more important than May Day itself. It was one of the three great ‘spirit nights’ (ysbrydnos) of the year. These were thought to be the three nights of the year that the veil to the spirit world was at its thinnest. The three Ysbryd Nos are;

    • Nos Galan (30th April)
    • St John’s Eve (24th June) and
    • Nos Calan Gaeaf (Halloween, 31st October).

    As the darkness would approach on Nos Galan, bonfires were lit which would represent purification, ward off harmful spirits and banish disease.

    Calan Mai - Calan Hâf

    May Day itself used to be known as Calan Hâfthe first day of summer. At the opposite end of the season, the first of November was known as Calan Gaeaf, the first day of Winter. These two festivals divided the year into winter and summer and became the dates on which certain activities began or ended.

     

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    Located in Pembrokeshire Wales, our ethos is defined in the three words...

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    We are a proud supporter of Americymru, the Campaign for WoolGlobal Welsh and Red Dragon America.

     

    Last updated 30th April 2024

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