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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Stars and Ribbons

Winter Wassailing in Wales

An exploration of the rich history of holiday Wassail songs, featuring music for singing along.
Wassailing has been a feature of midwinter Welsh culture for centuries, a way to brighten up the dark, cold nights and share the holiday spirit. Stars and Ribbons takes us into the rich history of wassail songs past and present. It focuses specifically on the poetry that underpins the tradition and that brings a special magic to Christmas, New Year’s, and Twelfth Night. The poems of the season, we learn, served a distinct purpose, intended to help improve the earth’s fertility in three spheres: the productivity of the land, of the animal kingdom, and of the human race.

The songs addressed in the book are presented with musical notation and in both the original Welsh and new English translations, perfect for bringing a bit of wassail spirit to your own holiday celebrations.

280 pages | 13 halftones, 28 musical scores | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Literature and Literary Criticism: British and Irish Literature


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
An Introduction to Winter Wassailing in Wales
Christmas Wassailing
Wassailing at the New Year
Hunting the Wren
Stars and Ribbons: the Mari Lwyd ritual
Gwyl Fair y Canhwyllau (Candlemas)
Beth sy mor feinion
Calennig (1)
Calennig (2)
Cân Hela’r Dryw
Cân y Dryw
Cân y Fari Lwyd
Cerdd Dydd Calan
Consêt Prince Rupert or Prince Rupert’s Conceit
The Cutty Wren
Cyfri’r Geifr (1)
Cyfri’r Geifr (2)
Y cyntaf dydd o’r Gwyliau or The first day of Christmas
Deffrwch! Benteulu
Dibyn a Dobyn
Y Fedle Fawr
Ffarwel Gwyr Aberffraw
Hyd yma bu’n cerdded
Joan’s Placket
Leave Land or Gadael Tir
May Day
Y Mochyn Du
Peg O’Ramsey
Sosban Fach
Tri Thrawiad Gwynedd
Y Washael (Wel, dyma enw’r feinwen)
Ymdaith Gwyr Harlech or The March of the Men of Harlech
Winter Wassailing Songs and Poems 1–49
Verse forms
Index to first lines
Index to poets
Index to tunes
General Index

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