Monday, 23 June 2008

Old Celtic Customs

This morning it suddenly occurred to me there have been several things recently I wanted to blog about, but then I got busy and they escaped my mind. So today will be catch-up time.

The folk dancers parading in the ring at Builth.

Last month I went to the Smallholders' Show at Builth Wells, and posted some photos of Cornish and Welsh folk dancers and "characters". There was a very splended Mari Llwd (roughly translated grey mare or grey Mary) Anyway, the Mari Llwd is a horse's skull, which used to be paraded from door to door at New Year. The skull was beribboned, covered with a white sheet, and carried by a man beneath the sheet who would operate the jaw and make it snap. A party of people, "who included Sergeant, Merryman, Punch and Judy would engage in poetic contest, singing as many as fifteen verses before they were eventually allowed to enter." Then the Mari would enter the house and begin chasing all the girls like a wild thing, snapping at them with its jaws. Food and drink were then offered. It is believed that this tradition was connected with Wassailing.

Anyway, at the Smallholders' Show there was a superb Mari Llwd who paraded through the showground and into the main ring with its handlers. I feel it is so vital to keep the tradition alive - and the handlers dressed SO well for their parts!

1 comment:

Mam said...

Now THAT is a very strange custom! Wonder what started all that!