Last weekend we were able to go to our first Plygain. Earlier in the day Sian & I had been attending a wonderful New Year Welsh Course.
The nightime was very special because it was so frosty and clear, with the moon shining exceptionally bright. The fields, the flocks, the trees could all be seen. We were very thankful for this as we were trying to track down this ancient service in a chapel hidden away in the countryside outside LLANFAIR CAERINION some nine miles from Y Drenewydd. It was like entering a new world, a new culture. Just a few miles from Newtown, was an ancient Welsh speaking village celebrating in an old way.
[I found this text on the web - but can't find where. But it says exactly what I wanted to say]
PLYGAIN (sounds like Plug-eye-n)
Plygain in rural North and Mid Wales dates back to the Catholic period, when early morning Plygain services were held on Christmas day. They are now mostly held in the early evening, throughout December and January. This unique form of unaccompanied carol-singing, characterized by close harmony and originally sung by small groups of men, is still very much a living tradition, and has indeed seen somewhat of a revival amongst the younger generation. New singers and parties have emerged, and new services have been established in various parts of the country, where the older carols can be heard alongside new original carols composed in the traditional mode, each one, in the words of Roy Saer, “ vividly communicating the drama and wonder, the joy and certainty which are the essence of these Christmas songs”. Plygain carol singing are held annually around Montgomeryshire in places such as Mallwyd, Llanerfyl, Llanfihangel-yng-ngwynfa and Cemmaes (the old Llanymawddwy Plygain which has moved due to renovation of church).