Have You Heard About Mari Lwyd?

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The tradition of Mari Lwyd, also known as the Grey Mare, is a Welsh Christmas tradition that dates back to the Middle Ages. It involves a group of people, led by a person holding a horse skull on a pole, going from house to house and singing traditional songs. The group is usually accompanied by a group of musicians playing instruments such as the fiddle, accordion, and drums.

The origins of the tradition are unclear, but it is thought to have originated in the pagan celebrations of the winter solstice. The horse skull, or Mari Lwyd, is believed to represent the spirit of the winter, with the group of people representing the forces of nature that are trying to drive away the cold and darkness of the season.

The tradition of Mari Lwyd has survived for centuries, despite attempts by the church to suppress it. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was common for the group to visit pubs and houses, singing songs and performing the traditional rituals. The tradition was also a popular form of entertainment at Christmas fairs and markets.

The traditional songs and rituals of Mari Lwyd are an important part of Welsh culture and heritage. The songs are typically sung in Welsh, and many of them are hundreds of years old. The lyrics often include references to the winter season, as well as to Welsh folklore and mythology.

One of the most well-known songs is “Y Fari Lwyd” (The Grey Mare), which tells the story of the Mari Lwyd coming to visit a house. The song describes how the Mari Lwyd tries to enter the house, and how the occupants must answer a series of rhyming questions before they will be allowed to enter.

The tradition of Mari Lwyd is still alive today, with groups continuing to visit houses and sing the traditional songs. In recent years, the tradition has become more organized, with many groups performing at community events and festivals.

The tradition has also gained international recognition, with groups from Wales performing at events in Europe and North America. In addition, the tradition has been featured in television programs and documentaries, helping to raise awareness of Welsh culture and heritage.

Despite the efforts of the church and other authorities to suppress the tradition, the Mari Lwyd continues to thrive as an important part of Welsh culture and identity. It is a unique and fascinating tradition that helps to keep alive the rich heritage of Wales.


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Shaun Zietsman https://www.thesomethingguy.co.za

Blogger and Content Creator from Johannesburg, South Africa.

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