A Welsh New Year Wish

Llansadwrn (Anglesey) Weather

Mountains of the Snowdon Horseshoe looking WSW

Cold is the man who can’t love,
The old mountains of dear Wales,
To him and his warmest friend,
A cheerful holiday next year.

Cold is the snow on Mount Snowdon,
Even though it has a flannel blanket on it,
Cold are the people who don’t care,
To meet together on New Year’s Eve.

You might not recognise this Welsh New Year carol, written by poet John Ceiriog Hughes (1832-1887). But what if you see the original with the “fa la la’s” put in?

Oer yw’r gwr sy’n methu caru,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Hen fynyddoedd annwyl Cymru,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Iddo ef a’u câr gynhesaf,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Gwyliau llawen flwyddyn nesaf,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Oer yw’r eira ar Eryri,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Er fod gwrthban gwlanen arni,
Fa la la la la, la la la la,
Oer yw’r bobol na ofalon,
Fa la la, la la la, la la la,
Gwrdd a’u gilydd ar Nos Galan,
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

The translation is from Cymdeithas Madog, a North American Welsh learners’ site including other essential songs with English translations.

And if you hear the tune, you’ll probably recognise it: It was turned into a Christmas song in English as Deck the Halls. There are English new year words by John Oxenford to the same tune.

It wasn’t easy to find this sung Welsh version, but Dutch vocal ensemble Barbers & Bishops have recorded it. They sing an interesting range of early music from Sardinia to Pérotin if you – like me – like that sort of thing. We still have 6 days of Christmas yet, so maybe it’s time for some less well known carols.

It doesn’t look like we will see much snow on Snowdon this new year (the image from Donald Perkins’ local weather website is 11 years old), but may you see the New Year in warmly, gathered together with the people you love.

Happy New Year!

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Posted in Christmas, translation

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