Tachwedd, Sion Corn etc

I may be being pedantic but November is Tachwedd, not Tashwedd!!

S’mae Henddraig,

Its a joke, a play on the word “tash” for moustache, and refers to a charity event where men are sponsored to grow a moustache during the month of November.



Tashwedd is the Welsh version of Movember, as in moustache-wedd :wink:

I think the Welsh name works better as well. :smile:

Sorry folks, I suddenly thought it might be that, but as mwstas doesn’t end in ‘sh’ or ‘si’, I was rather confused. I realise now it was a wenglish joke, a very mixed up bilingual joke and I suspect an object lesson in the problems of mixing languages without being really clear what is going on. Maybe the title “Tash-Tachwedd” might have worked? Or am I just being incredibly thick and pedantic as well?
from Jackie

Neither of those. Just a reflection perhaps that some like their language straight, and others are ok with mixed drinks, as it were. :slight_smile: (Mine’s a peint, BTW…).
It’s all good, as our American friends say. :slight_smile:


Both the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru and the Geiriadur yr Academi give “mwstash” as an alternative spelling of “mwstas”, so I think we can be pedantic and enjoy the pun on this one :wink:

Owch!! Grovel!! Grovel muchly!! It didn’t even occur to me to look up spellings!! I just presumed pronouncing it that way was Wenglish!! I retire from all discussions on spelling, linguistics, unless someone wants to tell me why the chap derived from the legend of St. Nicholas is called Sion Corn? Is that a different chap altogether really?
from Jackie

Sion Corn is literally “Chimney Pot John”. We use Sion or Sioni a lot in Welsh to denote an “un-known person”, like"Sioni bob ochr" - John on every side, or someone who supports everyone and no-one, or “sioni winwns”, the onion seller on his bike, etc. So Sion Corn is just “the bloke who comes down the chimney”!


Anyone got any idea whether that just arose because English people started going on about someone bringing presents down the chimney or if this is an idea going way back? I mean, we were Christian during the time we were in the Roman Empire. We may or may not have had some sort of Nadolig festival. Wasn’t it Constantine who held a Synod to decide things like that? I suspect the chimney idea had nothing to do with St. Nicholas, so Sion Corn could pre-date Santa!

Chimneys weren’t invented until late medieval times. I learned that at Sain Ffagan!

That said, it would have been easier to get into a building via the smoke-hole in the days before chimneys. I heard a tale from a friend just the other day that when people used to keep pigs inside (in a longhouse, animals would be at one end, people at the other), there would be a danger of wolves climbing in through the roof. Hence the story of the three little pigs.

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although pretty much thought of as one-and-the-same these days, Father Christmas and Santa Claus were not the same person.
Santa Claus is derived from Saint Nicholas, a 4th century saint. In one of the legends associated with him, he did throw a purse of coins ‘down a chimney’ - although of course that may be a later version of the story anyway.
Father Christmas, or at least the personification of christmas first appears in English literature in the 15th century - no mention of chimneys in that reference, but at least chimneys would have been around!
I always thought that the chimney thing was to explain why he hadn’t arrived through a door or window, it being the only other way in, and of course the whole celebration as we know it today was very much boosted in the Victorian era when fireplaces and chimneys were far more commonplace in buildings than they are now.

I do like Iestyn’s explanation - there’s definitely a whiff of typical understated Welsh humour in “the bloke who comes down the chimney” !

I thought it was a recent idea, to do with, as you say, the idea of him coming down the chimney at Christmas.

However, there is an intriguing quote in the Geiriadur Prifysgol Cymru-

“1923 - J. Glyn Davies: Cerddi Huw Puw xxv, The history of Sion Corn is unknown to me any further back than my father’s dialogues with him in the seventies. He had some mysterious interest in getting off to bed early, and a more rational habit of making presents at Christmas, as a Welsh Santa Claus. I do not know whether my father found him in Edern, his mothers home, or invented him. Anyhow, Sion Corn has done untruthful and amiable service for two generations.”

Perhaps there was a song about him in “Cerddi Huw Puw”, a very popular song book for children?

If so, it seems, reading between the lines, that Sion Corn was [as above] a rather “benevolent” bogeyman type figure living up the chimney, little known, perhaps even simply a family tradition, until made more popular by a song in “Cerddi Huw Puw”.

That’s just a guess though.

“in getting children off to bed early” that should read.
I couldn’t find a way to quote the GPC, so had to type it!

And I seem to have missed out the bit of the quote which caught my eye! “He was a benevolent spook, living up the chimney in comfortable appartments.” should appear before “He had some mysterious interest…”

Has Siôn Corn (the real one) been CRB checked; and have the requisite safety certificates? He’s visiting children after all…
Worried of Tunbridge Wells.

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I don’t know if there are any others who might find all this interesting but will not find it because we are still labelled ‘Tachwedd’ despite being well into Rhagfyr. Does anyone know how to add ‘Sion Corn’ to the ‘subject’ header of all the posts about him? Oh, & thanks, I was interested in the song book and may look it up!

Anffodus, bydd Siôn Corn yn rhedeg yn hwyr eleni…

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Oh Diolch yn fawr iawn!! and I love the picture of poor Sion Corn!!
I had a thought: Round houses had a very nice spot for corvidae to nest at the top where the smoke percolated out. The smoke would have helped free the birds of parasites and kept the eggs and chicks warm. When we invented chimneys, I guess the birds chose to try nesting on those. It may be a myth, but I understand that corvidae like shiny objects & take them to their nests. The sudden appearance of ‘slippages’ underneath, in the form of shiny objects dropping from the round house roof, or down the chimney, may have led to an association between Sion yn y corn and presents below!!! Nadolig llawen am Jackie.

I have just found out that the birds which nest in chimneys are Jackdaws. So this member of family corvidae is, quite literally ‘Jack yn y corn’!!!