On These Days in September

Croeso Medi, fis fy serch,
Pan fo’r mwyar ar y llwyni,
Pan fo’r cnau’n melynu’r cyll,
Pan fo’n hwyr gan ddyddiau nosi.
— Eifion Wyn

Welcome Medi, month of my love,
When the blackberries are on the hedges,
When the nuts yellow the hazel,
When the evening by days darkens.
— Eifion Wyn

There are so many days of significance in Medi (September) through the ages, I thought it best to combine some of them because I will want to write more later on in the month about one of the most historic characters in Welsh history.

Medi is the word for reaping the harvest. From mid August to late September, the fragrance of the grains being harvested fills the air. In the rural areas of Cymru, the saying is lladd y gwair – literally to ‘kill the grass’. Grain harvesting is an anxious time, especially dependent on the weather. Cymru is lush and green. Its climate is affected by the Gulf Stream and is generally mild and moist. At the end of summer, too much rain will postpone the harvest beyond the optimum time.

Most of the farms in the west, mid and north are small family-owned operations – none of the megalithic corporate farms of the American midwest. Most of the farms have been in the same family for decades, some times for centuries, once the feudal system of the medieval estates began to break apart.

The custom  of dividing property equally between heirs meant that estates became farms and then smallholdings unless the heirs agreed to keep the estate as one. Many farms were sold when the heirs were too old to work them. Many of these heirs remained unmarried to avoid breaking up the farm between their siblings and their children. Much of the farmland around towns has been sold to developers for housing, making retired farmers the unlanded wealthy.

Medi is also the month of renewed activity after the long summer of waiting for the grass to reach it’s maturity.

2 Medi 1861: on this day the price for Y Faner (a weekly news magazine) was lowered to two pence.

3 Medi 1927: Coleg Harlech was opened – the first college for older students in Cymru.

5 Medi 1912: By winning the National Eisteddfod Chair in Wrexham on this day, after winning the Bardic Crown on the 4th, T.H. Parry-Williams was the first poet to win both – and that at the age of just 25.

6 Medi 1917: was the day of the ‘Cadair Ddu’ (the Black Chair) at the National Eisteddfod in Penbedw when the Bardic Chair was draped in black in honor of the winner, Hedd Wyn, who was killed in battle of Pilkem Ridge, France on the 31st of July, 1917.

Dan y llaid mae llygaid llon
A marw yw prydydd Meirion.

Under the mud are eyes at peace
And dead is Meirion’s poet.

8 Medi 1936: the poets Saunder Lewis, D.J. Williams and Lewis Valentine set fire to the Bombing School at Penyberth, on the Llŷn Peninsula in north Cymru to protest the use of land in Cymru to support the military of England.  (We named our first home in Caerfyrddin ‘Penyberth’ in honor of these men.)

9 Medi 1294: Madog ap Llywelyn rebelled against the oppression of Edward I in Cymru. This rebellion followed years of war between this tyrannical king and the Cymry (Welsh people). Edward crowned his son as the Prince of Wales, against the wishes of the Cymry. The last true Tywysog Cymru (Prince of Wales) was Llywelyn II, murdered at Cilmeri, Powys in 1282.

Pob dymuniad da am dywydd braf a medi llwyddiannus.

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Filed under Cymraeg/Welsh Language, Cymreig/Welsh, Hanes Cymru/Welsh History, Y Cymry/Welsh People

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