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Oystermouth Calennig

God bless the master of this house,
And the mistress too,
Likewise the little children
That round the table go.

We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year,
A pocket full of money
And a cellar full of beer.

An apple and a pear,
A plum and a cherry;
And a sup of good ale
To make a man merry.

We've got a little purse
Made of leather skin
We want a little of your money
To line it well within.

Horatio Tucker supplied the words to this rhyme. Mrs Majorie Bowden remembered the tradition but could not recollect the song. Calennig is a Welsh word meaning a New Year's gift; the tradition existed widely in Welsh-speaking areas and in English-speaking areas too. An orange (in Oystermouth and many other places; further east in Glamorgan an apple was often used) would be mounted on a stick and decorated with holly, cloves and ribbons before being paraded around the houses on New Year's Morning. Before oranges were in plentiful supply, a potato could play the part. The children received small gifts in return for their songs.

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Last updated 08 March 2010

Copyright 1999 Mari Arts.