Calan Hen, the "Old New Year" and the "Pwnc"

From earliest times, New Year's Day was celebrated by a game of Cnapan (football) played between the porches of Llanwenog and Llandysul churches as goals. The game was a survivor of an old war, and by the beginning of the 19th century many people had been killed or injured during the game. When the new Gregorian Calendar changed the date of the New Year in 1752, the people of the area continued to hold the football game on the old New Year - 12th January. The toll of death and injury was not considered to matter too much, but by 1833 the Vicar of Llandysul decided that it was not longer suitable for the game to be played between the two churches. He established a scripture competition between the local parishes, which continues to this day on the nearest Saturday to 12th January.

Celebrating Calan Hen in Llandysul on January 19th 1961

From the Geoff Charles (1909-2002) Collection, National Library of Wales.

See more of the Geoff Charles "Calan Hen" collection on the National Library of Wales website.

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