Rural – Jersey Country Life Magazine

HEN GALAN

A bright day for ‘Hen Galan’, 13 January 2022

Angela Swindell, is wife of the former St Saviour Rector, the Revd Dr Anthony Swindell and a teacher at Victoria College. She was a member of the executive of the Société Jersiaise and left the Island when her husband retired. They now live in rural mid Wales. She writes:

‘Greetings to all friends in Jersey!

‘You are not alone in celebrating or marking ancient festivals, nor in enjoying spectacular sun rises and sun sets.

‘Here in rural Mid Wales the re appearance of the sun over the hills near to Trefeglwys, after the darkness and depths of winter, has been marked by a celebration known as ‘Hen Galan’. This took place on 13 January,  which is New Year according to the Old Julian Calendar.  In the early 20th Century the Bennett family who lived at Glan -Y- rafon in the Llawryglyn  Valley continued to be accustomed to lay a table in their Library on the morning of Hen Galen and to offer hospitality to anyone who called. Sadly, this beautiful half-timbered house was demolished in 1951. Their descendants still live in the locality.

‘Further south, in the Gwaun Valley in Pembrokeshire, the change from the Julian Calendar to the Gregorian Calendar was resisted when it was imposed in 1752, although it had been adopted in some areas 200 years earlier! The children still go from door to door singing:

‘Bwyddyn Newydd dda I chi ( a Happy New Year to you)

Ac I bwab sydd yn y by ( and to everyone in the house)

Dyma fy nymuniad ( this is my wish)

Bwyddyn Newydd dda I chi ( A Happy New Year to you)

‘In return for which they were given ‘ CalennIg’, which is sweets or money.

‘This year, 2022, on 13 January 13 the sun rose spectacularly, as if it knew just what to do! Once the early morning mist had lifted the day continued with clear blue skies and glorious sunshine. We were easily tempted out to enjoy the spectacular views of Llyn Clywedog, Hafren Forest and the Plynlimon Hills – source of the Rivers Severn and Wye.’

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