Dec 3, 2020

Creepmas Creeps - Mari Lwyd

Mari Lwyd

Mari Lwyd is not so much a figure of winter terror but a fun tradition!

From Wikipedia:
The Mari Lwyd itself consists of a horse's skull that is decorated with ribbons and affixed to a pole; to the back of the skull is attached a white sheet, which drapes down to conceal both the pole and the individual carrying this device. On occasion, the horse's head was represented not by a skull but was instead made from wood or even paper. In some instances, the horse's jaw was able to open and close as a result of string or lever attached to it, and there are accounts of pieces of glass being affixed into the eye sockets of some examples, representing eyes. An observer of the tradition as it was performed at Llangynwyd during the nineteenth century noted that preparation for the activity was a communal event, with many locals involving themselves in the decorating of the Mari Lwyd.
Groups of men would form into teams to accompany the horse on its travels around the local area, and although the makeup of such groups varied, they typically included an individual to carry the horse, a leader, and individuals dressed as stock characters such as Punch and Judy. The team would carry the Mari Lwyd to local houses, where they would request entry through the medium of song. 
Mari Lwyd card from 1918
 From the National Museum Wales:
The attendant ritual began with the singing of traditional stanzas by the Mari Lwyd group at the door, soliciting both permission to sing and entry into the house, and issuing a challenge to a versifying contest.

Next followed the pwnco, the debate conducted to the same music in a combination of traditional and impromptu stanzas) between a member of the group and an opponent within the house.  This usually amounted to heavy leg-pulling in which the contestants mocked each other's singing, drunkenness, etc.

Victory in the debate would ensure admission into the house for the Mari Lwyd group, to partake of cakes and ale and perhaps collect a money gift as well.  In at least some cases, after the end of the debate, the group would sing additional stanzas introducing its individual members and finally, after entertaining the occupants of the house, it would deliver a farewell song.

Basically, Mari Lwyd sounds like Trick or Treating except you have to win a rap battle to get your treats!

Click below to see all the Creepmas celebrants!

I'm a CREEP for The 13 Days of CREEPMAS


  1. Definitely creepy and cool. Loving this.

    1. Definitely watch the video if you haven't, it's pretty cool

  2. Amazing! Thanks for putting this up!

  3. Some of these customs are out there!

    1. This one seems like it would be fun no matter which end you were on