Halloween in Wales: The secret history of Nos Calan Gaeaf

In Wales, October 31 is a magical night when ghosts, fairies, and all manner of supernatural creatures may be encountered.

On this special Halloween podcast episode, join Mark Rees ( author of Ghosts of Wales/ Paranormal Wales etc.) as he goes in search of the secret origins of Nos Calan Gaeaf, the Welsh Halloween.

In the early 1900s a pioneering American author from New England published what is considered to be the first history of Halloween, and by using that as our starting point for the spookiest day of the year we will uncover:

  • The role the Welsh Druids played in shaping Halloween.
  • How witches transformed people into standing stones.
  • The fairies, pixies and ghosts lurking at the dark crossroads.
  • The dreaded Hwch Ddu Gwta, a terrifying supernatural pig that chased merrymakers home after the witching hour.
  • How huge bonfires were lit during harvest festivals long before the arrival of Christianity.
  • How to predict who will die in the coming year on All Hallows' Eve.
  • And the really important questions - could young girls really predict who their future husbands by throwing a knife into a field of leeks after dark?

All of these questions and more will be explored in this special Halloween episode of the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast!


Halloween in Wales: 5 special episodes

October is the Halloween takeover month on the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales podcast, and this is the third of five stand-alone specials.

For a full list of episodes check out the Halloween Specials podcast page.

What is Nos Calan Gaeaf?

In Celtic times, each day began at sunset.

October 31 - Nos Calan Gaeaf in Welsh, the night before Calan Gaeaf - marked the beginning of winter, and while it was a time for celebration, it was also a time of great foreboding and apprehension.

For more about Nos Calan Gaeaf, be sure to subscribe to the Ghosts & Folklore podcast which will be focusing on the festival all through October, and check out the book The A-Z of Curious Wales for lots more weird and wonderful facts.

What is the Ghosts & Folklore of Wales with Mark Rees podcast?

Join Mark Rees (author of Ghosts of Wales/ Paranormal Wales etc.) as he explores the weird and wonderful history of Wales.

The world’s first podcast dedicated to Welsh ghost stories, folklore, myths and legends, GHOSTS & FOLKLORE OF WALES combines Mark’s research and insights from his books and articles with long-lost tales from some ancient tomes into a truly unique podcast experience.

New episodes are uploaded every Thursday, and feature everything from real-life encounters with pesky poltergeists to the fantastical beasts from the Mabinogion, 

Be sure to subscribe, and for more details and to get in touch with Mark Rees, please visit:

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