We’re almost at the end of another November, so what better time to talk about this common word?
The Welsh word for ‘November’ is ‘Tachwedd’, which is the eleventh month of the Gregorian calendar. Gweiadur states that the original definition of ‘Tachwedd’ was probably ‘Tynnu tua’r diwedd’, which means the end is near, i.e. the end of the year.
Tachwedd is known as ‘Y mis du’ in Welsh, ‘The dark month’ in English, and interestingly enough, in the Breton language, which is also of Celtic origin, ‘Tachwedd’ translates to ‘Du’. These days, one of the most obvious reasons that November is known as a dark month is probably because of the change in hour on the last Sunday in October. This means it’s dark when people usually wake up to go to work or school etc. and dark again when you come back home.
However, many people may not know that the original meaning of the word ‘Tachwedd’ was ‘lladdfa’ or ‘slaughter’ in English, which also adds to the dark and gloomy atmosphere around the word. It mainly refers to the time right before the start of winter, so the end of autumn, when most livestock were ready to be slaughtered to ensure there would be enough food to last until the spring. Because of this, a sufficient amount of meat was slaughtered in time for the cold, dark season. It was also known to be a common word on the battlefield, where the enemy was slaughtered. However, these days, it’s not common to hear this word being used in this context.
When referring to the month itself, remember to add ‘Mis’ in front of it, so ‘Mis Tachwedd’, which means the month of November. You can’t just use the name of the month as you would in the English language, which is also relevant for the other eleven months of the year.
Here are some examples:
Hoffwn i ddechrau fy siopa Nadolig ym mis Tachwedd eleni.
I’d like to start my Christmas shopping in November this year.
Byddaf yn cael y goriadau i’r tŷ newydd fis Tachwedd.
I will get the keys to the new house in November.
Mae mis Tachwedd yn gyfle da i ni fynd, cyn iddi fynd yn rhy oer.
November is a good time for us to go, before it gets too cold.