What's going on with the handkerchief?

I am reading ‘Fel Aderyn’ by Manon Steffan Ros and there is a scene in a restaurant where a man is breaking up with his girl-friend. “Cododd Garmon o’i sedd gan daflu ei hances yn un swpyn coch ar y bwrddd. 'Dylwn i fod wed gneud hyn flynydde ‘nôl.’”
From the context I am guessing that throwing a handkerchief on the table – perhaps specifically a red handkerchief? – symbolises the end of a love-affair, but I have never met this idea before. Is this a particularly Welsh thing, and if so is there anything else I should know about the Welsh and their cultural use of handkerchiefs?

I’ll ask her… :thinking:


I rather suspect it’s just observational writing, rather than a commonly accepted symbol… :slight_smile:

From the scene described I think that my learner’s guess would have been that “hances” could also be used to refer to his napkin given their similarity to handkerchiefs.

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Manon says exactly what aran suspects, and that it’s just observational writing. The handkerchief is there in his hand and he instinctively throws it down on the tablr according to his emotions at the time. Hope this helps! :blush:


Ah, right, thanks for sorting that out, and I’m glad I haven’t got to learn the language of handkerchiefs too; Welsh is quite enough to be going on with. Really enjoying Manon’s books, by the way: have read ‘Blasu’ and ‘Pluen’ and got ‘Llanw’ lined up next. I find them fairly easy reading, but of course have a long way to go before I get all the nuances, like when Mina’s boyfriend meets her mother and stepfather he says 'Gwneud o’n i wrth Mina nawr, ma 'ddi’n siwrne hyfryd ar y tren i fan ‘yn’ and they look at him ‘fel petasai Garmon yn siarad Swahili’, and this seems to be because he comes from Carmarthenshire, but what it is about the sentence that shows this and makes it sound alien to Mina’s northern family I don’t know. So much to learn…

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Yes, sorry, gweud not gwneud.

Ah. That makes sense. Gweud in the north would be deud.