Folk .Wales

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.

Mick Tems

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