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Criccieth - Collecting for Christmas.
(Translated from Welsh).
When I was a child there used to be lot of trouble in the week before Christmas. The women would go around the farms to collect flour or other gifts in two bags, one for oatmeal and the other for barley flour, collecting a cupful or two from each farm. The day before Christmas would be the big day. Early in the morning, meat was divided in the Gwynfryn; then they would move onto Trefan for flour, and then to Bryncir for meat. The trouble would start at Bryncir where people from Garn and Criccieth used to meet and fights would break out. At the crossroads the first would wait until the Criccieth party arrived. Then after insulting each other they began to fight, until sometimes they would lose their acquisitions and one side had to escape like a defeated army. But very often a company of boys, sailors from Criccith, came up; and they would jump over the bank, and the people of Garn would be forced to escape. Once I really wanted to go begging with the other children and I borrowed a pillow case to go. Everything was ready the night before, and I went to bed having asked to be called at four o’clock in the morning. It was eight o’clock when I woke up, and the race was over. I don’t know whose fault it was. It seems that they all understood each other and agreed to treat me that way. There was nothing to do but accept the best of the worst. I had decided to go collecting for Christmas and so I did. I found two others like myself and we set off. We had lost the harvest, and so there was nothing to do but glean the leftovers. We went to London (House), and we each got a stump of a ha’penny candle and from there to the Rectory. The vicar, old Mr Richards came over to us, and after asking who we were, said , “You have more offerings at home that you could give them to me’, he said; but he gave each of us an ounce of tea, and we returned home with the alms. By the time I arrived home, Elen Cilygât was there begging. I felt proud placing my candle and tea on the table when my mother suggested that the best thing would be for me to give them to Elen, that’s what I did, although it was against the grain. By now, the old custom has almost died out in the area, but hopefully, although this old tradition of displaying it has disappeared, I hope that the ‘goodwill’ and kindness of Christmas has not receded.

Cyf. IV rhif. 48 - December 1903
1 January 1903

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