SINCE becoming a community-owned pub just over a year ago Tafarn Sinc has developed as an important entertainment venue with a particularly Welsh flavour.

Music celebs have turned out in force to support the venture in the Preseli hills – from national figures like Dafydd Iwan and Tecwyn Ifan to local up and coming artists such as Nia Lloyd.

Ammanford band Gwŷr y Stac were so impressed with their visits they recorded a CD of their song 'Tafarn Sinc' which has already become a firm favourite at the pub.

And Tafarn Sinc has issued a challenge to local singers for 2019 in the hope of spreading the tradition of Welsh plygain singing.

In many parts of Wales, Christmas meant rising early (or staying up overnight) to attend the plygain service at the parish church. The hour for the appears to have varied between 3am and 6am, the latter becoming more common as time went on.

As they waited, young people, in particular, would pass away the time in many different ways.

In Tenby, for example, crowds carried torches, shouted verses and blew cow-horns, before finally forming a torch procession in which the young men of the town escorted the rector from his house to the church.

In the countryside the plygain at the parish church was attended by people from even the remotest farmsteads. Often each person brought his or her candle to help to light the church.

The carols sung at these services are many and varied, but very different in character from what are now regarded as traditional carols and involve very particular styles of harmony singing.

Now Tafarn Sinc has offered to accommodate any groups or individuals wishing to meet and practise the ancient music.

Another ancient custom of celebrating Hen Galan, also still a strong tradition in the Gwaun Valley and Llandysul areas, will be celebrated on Sunday, January 13, with a visit from the Mari Lwyd.

Hen Galan dates back to a change of calendar in 1752 which was resisted in many parts of the country by people worried they were 'losing' 12 days.

The Mari Lwyd, a horse skull dressed in a sheet and decorated, is a connected tradition dating back to Celtic times.