Page 60 - Autumn Brilliance - We Wish You A Scary Christmas! Winter 2020
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  The Mari Lwyd
Imagine if you will...
You’re snug and warm in your Welsh home on a frigid winter’s evening during the Christmas season. A loud knock at your front door brings you to your feet. You open the door to find a group of caroling revelers, which includes a large, sheet-wrapped horse skull on a long pole (known as the Mari Lwyd) staring you in the face!
  Contemporary image of Mari Lwyd
Source - Wikipedia
Modern day participants also engage in a sort of song and rhyme-off to see who will best the other.
And, as you can well expect, this wassailing custom is indeed a very boozy event (and sounds like a lot of fun!).
You are thus challenged (by the person hidden under the sheet, holding the horse skull aloft) to a witty rhyme and song competition, whereby if you should happen to lose, the entire group must be welcomed into your home for drinks and food!
The Mari Lwyd’s tradition was first recorded in late 18th century Wales. However, the root of the event can possibly be traced back millennia to the beginning of Christian times (known as the Feast of the Ass; it details the recounted story from the Gospel of Matthew of Joseph taking Mary and the baby Jesus to flee Egypt on the back of a donkey).
Turn of the century ‘Challenge and Reply’ card

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