SSi Forum

Could we have a thread on Welsh Customs?


#1

A fortnight ago I was at a quiz about Christmas and there was a question about robins, robingoch.

As a follow up we were told that in Sir Gar and (either Sir Bemfro neu Ceredigion) it’s unlucky to have a robingoch on a Christmas card.

Since then I’ve bought the subject up with some Cymnraes.

I was in a charity shop and there was a singing robingoch activated by people walking by it. I bought up the subject of the Christmas cards and the shop manager said she had fairly recently moved from North Wales (I’m in Sir Gar) and her new neighbour won’t have any pictures of birds, of any variety, in her house. I didn’t ask about cook books.

My colleague who gives me a lift to work says her neighbour puts any cards with a robingoch on straight into the bin.

And someone else knows of someone who cuts the pictures of any robingoch from the card.

I believe a robingoch inside the house is supposed to portend a death in the house.

Had anyone else heard of this, and are there any customs I am blissfully ignorant of?


Welsh Harvest Traditions
#2

We’re all doomed, then - robin goch very popular with us… :sunny:


#3

The thing is that it’s true, we will all die. It’s just that it isn’t very time specific.


#4

Happily enough… :sunny:


#5

That would be a topic of great interest for me as I’m specifically interested in British folklore. I know you’re asking about superstitions currently in use, but maybe someone is as interested in Welsh history as I am, would find this link of interest.
It’s a list of newspaper publications concerning Welsh customs and superstitions, with links to the pdf files of the scans.

https://www.ceredigion.gov.uk/index.cfm?articleid=9902

Sorry if it has been posted before and I wasn’t aware of it.


#6

I’d put htis in your list or I’d put this thread in your list…

And yes, me not being too familiar with things described above and (to be honest) being on short with time to read things elswhere and these days lack of energy of all kinds I’d be happy with this thread to spread on. Actually, thank you @margaretnock for putting this idea to view as I had the similar one too. I’d easier read something written here on the forum then go through numerous of articles elswhere … (I’m not sure you’d understand what I meant with this, but whatever …).


#7

I understand what you mean:) Unfortunately I can’t harass, oh sorry, convince people to talk to me about Wales and its folklore as much as I want, and books can help here.


#8

Wow - I’ve never heard of this superstition before. Cuts the pictures of any robin gochs from the card?! I’m intrigued now! I’ll have to do some research on this! Poor robin goch!


#9

I’ve never met it in Morganwg, Sir Gar, Gwent or Gwynedd. I love robingoch!!
But, my mam wouldn’t have hawthorn (flowering May tree) in the house and really told me off massively when I was quite small, risked pricks to pick it & took it home to present to her!! I’m not sure what she thought would happen to her or the house if it crossed the threshold, but her reaction suggested instant death!!! I am not sure which parent she got this from or where it originates!


#10

I don’t think that was particularly Welsh, My mother-in-law would not have May in the house and she was half English and half Swedish.


#11

@raymondkefford
Oh, I just love it how we seem to find common customs among people belonging to different nations!

Anyway, this is another link leading to a website which lists Welsh superstitions, if anyone’s interested. I wonder how many of them are currently in use http://www.tehistory.org/hqda/html/v22/v22n2p055.html


#12

Never heard anything about a dog of any kind with a spot having any effect, good or ill, on Gower!!
Hanging up seaweed was supposed to work as a weather forecast but that was all! (Get’s damp if rain coming).
One man would only drink water from a particular spring, but that seemed to be personal foible, not a superstition!
My mother was incredibly superstitious, but as I reacted against this, I tend to have forgotten them!!
I have never heard of most of those listed!!


#13

But they’re such a fascinating object of research!
I loved the old Scottish superstitions about men finding the cuckoo’s nest and becoming widower’s after that! As cuckoos are well-known not to build nests I just imagined the poor Scottish men, tired of their wives, roaming the woods in a desperate search of the nest!


#14

I have been reading some rather funny novels about a policeman based in a very remote part of the Highlands, and they mention the odd superstitions that some of the highlanders still have (at least according to these novels, which are set in more or less modern times). (I’ll have to do some re-reading to remind myself of the specifics!).


#15

Oh, what’s the title of the series?


#16

The Hamish Macbeth murder mysteries. There are about 30 of them I think and they are highly improbable - black comedies, but very funny, and the hero Hamish is a very likeable character. By M.C.Beaton.


#17

Oh, I loved the TV-series with young Robert Carlyle and the jokes about his character’s name:) “Constable Hamlet is in a different village, sir!”


#18

Did anyone see “Stori Santa” on S4C. I think it cemented in my mind the notion that the basis for ‘Sion Corn’ is jackdaws or other corvids nesting on roofs/on chimneys and dropping shiny objects, as Aled said the ‘original Sion Corn was a spirit who lived in the chimney’!!
The program basically looked at all the different ‘people’ who bring presents for children at Christmas and may or may not punish naughty children. I was surprised to find that some folk believed in an old hag, a bit like me!! The Russian Babooshka sounded rather nicer and less likely to punish!!
The program is available on S4C Clic, but I don’t know about Internationally.


#19

I have honestly never heard of this custom! Babushka in Russian is just a grandmother. Maybe it’s a custom from those parts of our vast country I haven’t been to, and then I’m better acquainted with British and Scandinavian folk-lore.
In my childhood we got gifts from Ded Moroz (Father Frost) and Snegurochka (the Snow-maiden, his granddaughter).


#20

Another custom and one not mentioned in the program. Babushka seemed to be a name given somewhere in Russia for a lady named, I think in Italy, as something like ‘Bebina’.
In places where they celebrate Epiphany with processions for the Three Kings, sometimes gifts for the children were ‘from the Kings’, but others said that this lady offered hospitality to them on their journey and they asked her to come and see the baby King. She said she was too busy with housework, but when they had gone, she decided she did want to go and tried to follow, taking gifts for the baby. She lost their trail and went home, but gave the gifts to children she saw on her way!!
Aled Jones did the presenting job of this program, but he doesn’t claim expertise, the script was written for him. I don’t know who covered Russia and the Baltic states!!!