Christmas in Wales: Facts About Welsh Christmas Traditions

Here are some facts about Welsh Christmas traditions and celebrations.

  • Singing is a popular part of Christmas in Wales. Traditionally, carols were sung in churches, and also around the Christmas tree in homes, often accompanied by music played on a harp.

  • In Wales, as in other parts of the UK, the day after Christmas is celebrated as Boxing Day. The name may have come from 17th century tradesmen and postmen being given a Christmas box.
  • The traditional Welsh Christmas church service is usually between 3am and 6am on Christmas morning. Some rural churches are still lit with hundreds of decorative candles.
  • Many larger Welsh towns have a Christmas market to celebrate the festive season in. These are modelled after the famous German markets, and sell food and drink, toys and decorations.
  • Some Welsh families eat a goose on Christmas Day, instead of a turkey. Also popular is making taffy, a traditional and delicious soft chewy toffee, made from butter and sugar.
  • A Child’s Christmas in Wales is a book by the famous Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It is about a nostalgic and old-fashioned look at Christmas, as seen through the eyes of a small child.
  • During the late 19th century, drinking from the wassail bowl was a popular Welsh New Year tradition. An ornate bowl was filled with fruit, spices, sugar and warm beer.
  • The Mari Lwyd ritual is still practiced today in some rural parts of Wales. A group of male singers dance through the streets, carrying a large wooden and paper horse.
  • Christmas in Wales includes many seasonal delicacies and treats. Mince pies and Christmas pudding are popular, and some families hide coins and silver charms in the pudding, to bring good luck.
  • Wales is home to several historic narrow gauge steam locomotives. At Christmas, the trains are decorated with lights and wreaths, and children can ride with Father Christmas and receive a small present.

What next? Discover more facts about Wales.