Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Naldolig Llawen"
Location: Western Europe - United Kingdom
Tree Type: Cultural
- The Wren represents the tradition of the Hunting of the Wren which is done of December 26th, The Feast of St. Stephen.
- The hobbyhorse ornaments represent an old Celtic tradition. The Druid Celts on the festival of the winter solstice place the head of a horse on a long pole that was decorated with mistletoe, ivy and colored ribbons. The children and adults would dance around this pole winding the ribbons around it. This was to celebrate the ending of the dark winter and the beginning of the New Year. Over the years the horse headed stick became a child's toy.
- The National flag of Wales is a Red Dragon (Y Draig Goch) on a field of white over dark green.
Traditions: The Welsh love of spoons represents a unique tradition of Wales. These carved spoons began in the 17th century and continued until the end of the 19th century. It is a custom of courtship. When a young man wished to show his love, he would carve a wooden spoon. The designs of the carved spoon symbolized the carver's intentions to the woman that he loved. If the woman agreed to the carvers' intentions, she would hand the spoon up on the kitchen wall.
The primary decoration of Wales tree is Mistletoe. In ancient times, the Druid Celts considered mistletoe to be a magical plant. The Celts believed that Mistletoe held the soul of the tree it was attached to. Hanging a branch over the doorway protected the house from storms. Hung over a cradle, it would protect the child within. Mistletoe was associated with childbirth. Love would be brought to anyone who entered a house where there was the scent of Mistletoe. Mistletoe is also a plant of peace, it was decried that enemies who met under a Mistletoe could not fight but rather embrace one another.
It was in the British Isles that kissing under the Mistletoe originated. A "Kissing Bow" made up of evergreens and Mistletoe was hung from the rafters. Candles illuminated it. After Christmas, the "Kissing Bow" is buried, those that kissed under it would marry in the coming year.
This is also the time of wassailing. A huge bowl would be filled with hot apple cider, mulled wine, spices, beaten egg whites, sliced apples, oranges and currents. To the greeting, "Good Wassail" A mug of Wassail is served to all who enters the house during this time. It is considered bad luck to refuse a mug of wassail.