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    Posted on Nov 20, 2014

    24 Ways A Welsh Christmas Is Utterly Delightful

    Nadolig Llawen!

    1. Father Christmas is called Siôn Corn here, which directly translates to “John Chimneypot”.

    2. Cardiff's Christmas Market may be small compared to the massive ones in London, but that's what makes it so charming.

    3. There’s also a Winter Wonderland in Cardiff, and it’s not as heinously busy as the one in Hyde Park.

    4. Since singing is a Welsh tradition, carol singers are never in short supply.

    5. One amazing custom that’s still carried out in winter is Mari Lwyd: a grey mare who brings luck.

    Via Flickr: arosmae / Creative Commons

    People knock on doors accompanied by the grey mare, which is a man under a sheet holding a horses skull on a stick, obviously.

    6. Another old tradition involves making taffy (or toffee) on Christmas Eve.

    7. After taffy-making, people gather in churches in the early hours of Christmas Day to sing for the "Plygain" service.

    8. The Welsh used to get drunk from the “wassail bowl” at Christmas.

    9. Of course, the Welsh countryside is perfect for a brisk, chilly walk.

    Via Flickr: bigdmia / Creative Commons

    10. And if it snows, there are plenty of fields to go sledging in.

    11. The Millennium Stadium puts on lovely Santa Claus Tours over the festive period.

    Flickr: flc

    The stadium roof is even left open on Christmas Eve so Santa can land and replenish his stocks in Cardiff. You can find out more here.

    12. Of course, old Welsh pubs are the perfect places to while away the hours while sipping on a festive tipple.

    13. And if you don't drink, there are always plenty of tea-rooms around.

    14. Swansea Indoor Market is so great that it had its own BBC series set around Christmas.

    15. Then there's Swansea Christmas Street Market too.

    Via Flickr: naomi_pincher / Creative Commons

    There are loads of stalls selling arts, crafts, handmade gifts, food, and Christmas decorations.

    16. And Swansea’s award-winning Waterfront Winterland.

    Via Flickr: whyu / Creative Commons

    With rides, two outdoor ice rinks, and Santa's grotto.

    17. The hills of the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia are even more stunning when they're covered in snow.

    Via Flickr: erwlas / Creative Commons

    18. And you can join Santa and his elves for a trip along the Ffestiniog and Welsh Highland Railways.

    Via Flickr: richardsunderland / Creative Commons

    Find out more about the trains, dates and times here.

    19. On Boxing Day, around 600 swimmers run into the sea for the Tenby Boxing Day Swim. / Via Flickr: valeholidays

    They do it for charity, which is nice, because it’s probably quite cold.

    20. And the more sensible, albeit less generous, go to the rugby on Boxing Day.

    21. Calennig is a sort of festive version of Trick or Treat.

    On New Year's Day, children knock on doors singing and bearing good wishes in exchange for Calennig (a gift or money).

    22. Then New Year starts frugally with a warming homemade cawl.

    23. Talking of festive foods, there's plenty of that: Welsh Black beef, lamb, local cheese, fresh fish and seafood, Welsh beer, and cider.

    24. Basically, Wales wins.

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