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Gŵyl Mabsant

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Title: Gŵyl Mabsant  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Wales, Traditional Welsh costume, Culture of Wales, National symbols of Wales, Music of Wales
Collection: Holidays in Wales, Saints Days
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Gŵyl Mabsant

A Gŵyl Mabsant (Welsh for "Feast of the Patron"), also known as the Patronal Festival or Wake of a parish,[1] is a traditional Welsh festival held annually in commemoration of the patron saint of a parish. Prior to 1752, the corresponding fair was reckoned by the Saint's Day according to tradition or to the official Catholic or Anglican Calendar of Saints; following the shift to New Style dating, however, the fair was reckoned eleven days later.[1] (For example, St. Teilo's Fair in Llandeilo was originally held on February 9th but came to be held on the 20th.[1]) By the 19th century, the fair often began on the following Sunday and then lasted between three days and a week.[1]

By that time, the Reformation had already removed the religious solemnities formerly observed and replaced them with programmes of recreational activities.[1] Owing to the combination of betting, feasting, and drinking, parish festivals built up a reputation for their rowdiness.[2][3] The local, rural nature of the fairs also occasioned many variations in the rules of the contests, leading to disagreements between parishes.[2][3] The fairs had mostly died out by the 1860s.[1]


  • Cockfighting: Birds were specially trained for the contest and the owner of a victorious cockerel was held in high esteem; large amounts of money could be wagered on the outcome of the fights.
  • Grinning Matches: For old women
  • Eating Hot Pudding
  • Glamorgan.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e f Baring-Gould, Sabine & al. , Vol. I, pp. 64 ffThe Lives of the British Saints: The Saints of Wales and Cornwall and Such Irish Saints as Have Dedications in Britain. Chas. Clark (London), 1908. Hosted at Accessed 18 Nov 2014.
  2. ^ a b Jones, T. Llew. "Gŵyl Mabsant" in Llafar Gwlad (Winter 1997), pp. 10–11, & (Spring 1998), pp. 8–9.
  3. ^ a b Suggett, Richard. "Festivals and Social Structure in Early Modern Wales" in Past & Present, Vol. 152 (Aug 1996), pp. 79–112.
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