December 10: Testing Traditions (Part 1)

It wouldn’t really be christmas without a few outlandish, wild customs based on superstitions and what not… So I think it’s time to test one such custom and determine how true it is…

But what custom? We need something with almost immediate results for a start as the longer an experiment like this lasts the less likely it is to work (And i might get bored at some point.). And we also need something that isn’t going to ruin anything for anybody because I’ve done enough of that this month already. So it needs to be obscure and immediate…

And i have just the thing… Although it’s a Halloween custom not a christmas one… Although to be fair it is associated with the first day of Winter and as we are approaching the Winter solstice i thought this would be appropriate to try out as a christmas tradition. It’s called Eiddiorwg Dalen and it originates from the Irish-Sea Zone (Ireland, Man and Wales… But mostly Wales.) Usually it’s practiced as part of Calan Gaef, The Welsh/celtic New Year (Although you really shouldn’t use the term celtic as it’s a Victorian invention… Like pretty much all ‘ancient’ ideas in the modern world.)

Now the idea of Eiddiorwg Dalen involves Ivy… Which you may also know has a bit to do with Christmas as well. Ivy was often used to decorate churches and has a significance as a pagan fertility symbol… There’s even a christmas Carol you might know…

Now it’s not too much of a stretch to turn this into a christmas custom. It’s very christmassy as it is, just a bit… odd. As I am half-welsh I thought I might give it a try. There are three different customs for Eiddiorwg Dalen (Which for some reason seems to translate into English as ‘Ivy Leaf Radiators) and they are as follows:

Firstly dried and ground Ivy leaves sprinkled into a drink (like Mead) are supposed to give you the power to see hags. Now I’m not being funny here but i don’t really want to see another hag. This dump is already full of them as it is and i don’t really want to see any more to be honest with you. I do wonder though how long this lasts for… Is it the rest of your life? Are you just walking down the street years later and suddenly you see one of them coming out of Woolworths Comet HMV? Or does it only last a few hours during which time you see them everywhere? It would be interesting to find out (Just not today!)

The second custom involves growing a wild rose around a hoop, crawling through it three times, cutting it into three and then sleeping with it under your pillow… This is also only applicable if you’re a girl… Which is one of the major reasons I won’t be doing this part of the custom. But the thing that’s missing from this explanation is the fact that it’s a wild rose… It doesn’t mention thorns or anything. Presumably the participant wakes up with the thorns in her head or. I couldn’t even find mention of what it’s for.

The third aspect is what I’ll be going for instead… It’s kind of the male equivalent of the above and fortunately this one is much safer and doesn’t involve sleeping on thorns… But it does involve Ivy. The point is to find ten leaves of ivy and then throw one of them away. The rest are placed under a pillow and supposedly provide the picker with ‘prophetic’ dreams. (This might also be the purpose of the rose).

Now i don’t know about you but this actually intrigues me. I don’t believe that dreams have meaning or significance but i have experienced something weird concerning them… Dreams that happen… or supposedly. Like i’ll dream something mundane like I’m sitting on a bench in the middle of a lake and then six months later I’m sitting on the exact same bench in the middle of a lake and I dreamed that i was doing exactly that six months before… And it hasn’t happened once… It’s been happening all my life. Supposedly about a third of people experience this phenomenon, maybe more… It’s something very strange and can’t be easily explained… The most likely theory is that it’s actually our minds tricking us into thinking we had a certain dream when really we didn’t… we just dreamed something similar.

Now my dreams are noticeably bizarre and usually either incredibly trippy/violent. I’ve mentioned before about Ponyta throwing itself into moving traffic from a tall building… That’s a more extreme example but you get the picture. So… I’m going to try this tonight and report back tomorrow with the results… I doubt the dream will really be prophetic and most likely it’ll mean nothing… But it’ll still be a fun experiment to do!

I might also stick a carrot outside the window and see if a reindeer comes to claim it in the night… Just for the fun of it!

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