UK: The ‘newest old tradition in Wales.’

CHEPSTOW, WALES – If you’re in the Welsh Border town of Chepstow on Saturday, January 19th, you’ll be able to meet some unusual visitors: the world’s biggest group of Mari Lwyds. To some of our Welsh ancestors, nothing says Christmas like the arrival of a man on your doorstep dressed in a sheet, wearing a horse’s skull, decked in ribbons and with clattering jaws! This old Welsh custom has become revived in recent years and is now a definite point in the Chepstow calendar and that of other Welsh towns, as well as being popular with British pagans. The Mari Lwyd celebrations have long been associated with the Wassailing customs popular throughout the South West and Herefordshire, a celebration of the apple harvest. Both these customs are old, so let’s take a look at their origins.