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Calan Gaeaf

Get ready for Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh holiday of spirits and spooky traditions! Embrace the eerie atmosphere and indulge in traditional treats.
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When it is?
November 1
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Category
Cultural
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Country
United Kingdom
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Introduction

Get ready to embrace the spooky and mystical traditions of Calan Gaeaf on November 1! This ancient Celtic holiday, also known as "the first day of winter", marks the end of summer and the beginning of the dark half of the year. It is believed that during this time, the veil between the living and dead is thinnest, allowing spirits to cross over into our world. To ward off these spirits and protect their homes, people would light bonfires and wear costumes. Today, it is still celebrated in parts of Wales with traditional songs, food, and games. So let's get into the spirit of Calan Gaeaf and welcome the start of a new season with open arms!

History of Calan Gaeaf

Calan Gaeaf Dates

Calan Gaeaf Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>600 BC</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Ancient Celtic Origins</div><div class='timeline-text'>The origins of Calan Gaeaf date back to the Iron Age Celts, who marked this as the first day of winter.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>43 AD</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Roman Influence</div><div class='timeline-text'>With the Roman invasion of Celtic lands, some Roman traditions began to blend with the celebration of Calan Gaeaf.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>800s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Christian Impact</div><div class='timeline-text'>During Christianization of Wales, Calan Gaeaf began to coincide with All Hallows' Day or All Saints' Day on November 1.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1800s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Fading Traditions</div><div class='timeline-text'>In the late 1800s, the practices associated with Calan Gaeaf started to fade, though some customs persisted in rural areas.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1980s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Revival Efforts</div><div class='timeline-text'>In the late 20th century, efforts to revive and preserve traditional Welsh culture led to a resurgence in Calan Gaeaf celebrations.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>Today</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Modern Celebrations</div><div class='timeline-text'>Today, Calan Gaeaf is celebrated with traditional songs, food, and games, especially in parts of Wales.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Calan Gaeaf

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Host a traditional feast</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Invite friends and family over for a traditional Calan Gaeaf feast, complete with dishes like cawl (soup), bara brith (fruit bread), and teisen lap (cake).</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Create a bonfire</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Gather loved ones and build a bonfire to celebrate the end of harvest season and the beginning of winter. Don't forget to tell spooky stories and roast marshmallows!</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Make traditional crafts</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Get creative and make traditional crafts associated with Calan Gaeaf, such as corn husk dolls or apple bobbing games.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Visit a haunted location</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Take a spooky tour of a haunted location in your area to get into the spirit of Calan Gaeaf and learn about local folklore.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a traditional celebration</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Check out local events or festivals celebrating Calan Gaeaf to experience the holiday in a more traditional and immersive way.</p></div></div>

Why We Love Calan Gaeaf

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It's a celebration of Welsh culture and history</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Calan Gaeaf, also known as the Welsh Day of the Dead, is deeply rooted in Welsh folklore and tradition. It's a time to honor ancestors and celebrate the changing of the seasons - making it a rich and meaningful holiday for those who observe it.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>There are unique traditions and customs to explore</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>From carving turnip lanterns to eating soul cakes, Calan Gaeaf has a variety of fascinating customs that have been passed down through generations. It's a great opportunity to delve into a different culture and learn more about their beliefs and traditions.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates the cycle of life and death</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Calan Gaeaf is a reminder that life is cyclical and death is just a part of that cycle. It can be a comforting holiday for those who have lost loved ones and a time to connect with ancestors and remember cherished memories. It's also a celebration of the end of harvest season and the start of winter - marking a new beginning for the land.</p></div></div>

5 Mystifying Facts about Calan Gaeaf Celebrations

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>The "Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta" legend is linked to Calan Gaeaf</h3><p class='facts-content'>An important part of the Calan Gaeaf folklore is the terrifying legend of "Yr Hwch Ddu Gwta", a mythical creature that is said to haunt the Welsh countryside on the eve of November 1.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Traditional games are key part of celebrations</h3><p class='facts-content'>Calan Gaeaf celebrations often include playing traditional games like “snap apple” but also divination games to predict future relationships and career success.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Nut-cracking on Calan Gaeaf predicts the weather</h3><p class='facts-content'>An old folk tradition involves cracking nuts on Calan Gaeaf. If the nut burns steadily, it indicates a good weather in the coming winter, but if it pops, winter will be stormy.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>There was superstition about avoiding churchyards and crossroads</h3><p class='facts-content'>On Calan Gaeaf, it was traditionally believed that the veil between the world of the living and the dead is thinnest. As a result, people avoided passing through churchyards and crossroads to dodge encountering spirits.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Coelcerth or Bonfire has a significant role</h3><p class='facts-content'>In Calan Gaeaf, each family used to create a bonfire called "Coelcerth" or "Noson Gyflaith". Stones marked with names were placed in a bonfire, and it was believed that if any stone was missing afterward, the person would die within the year.</p></div></div>

Calan Gaeaf FAQs

When is Calan Gaeaf?

Calan Gaeaf is celebrated on November 1st every year. In 2024 Calan Gaeaf will occur on a Friday.

Calan Gaeaf Dates

Year
Date
Day

2023

Nov 1

Wednesday

2024

Nov 1

Friday

2025

Nov 1

Saturday

2026

Nov 1

Sunday

2027

Nov 1

Monday

Cultural Holidays