Gŵyl Ifan, the Festival of St. John the Baptist on June 24th, was the midsummer festival traditionally celebrated in Wales. It was one of the three ysprydnos or spirit nights when the world of the supernatural was closest to ours (the others being Nos Galan Gaeaf on 31st October and Nos Galan Mai, or Nos Galan Haf, on 30th April).
Y fedwen haf
Y fedwen haf from the summer dance festival, Cardiff
see the Gŵyl Ifan website
There was a tradition of ‘the theft of the birch’, by which villagers from a neighbouring parish would try to steal the pole, so that the presence of strong youths was required to guard it. The theft of the birch had serious consequences because it was seen as a huge disgrace and no birch could be raised again until another had been stolen to replace it.
St John’s Wort
She also tells us that to forecast marriage, spinsters used to make a wreath or garland with nine different kinds of flowers. Then, while walking backwards, they would try to throw the garlands onto a tree. The number of times it fell to the ground represented the number of years they would remain unmarried.
Trefor M. Owen, The Customs and Traditions of Wales. University of Wales Press, Cardiff, 1991.
Trefor M. Owen, Welsh Folk Customs. Gomer Press, Llandysul, 1987
Marie Trevelyan, Folk-lore and Folk-stories of Wales, EP Publishing Limited, Wakefield, 1973
Alexei Kondratiev, The Apple Branch. The Collins Press, Cork, 1998