Quit Horsing Around Mari Lwyd

Quit Horsing Around Mari Lwyd

If you ever wanted a horse for Christmas, try Mari Lwyd, a horse that keeps on giving.  What is Mari Lwyd?  The first records of Mari Lwyd appeared in the 18th century. Mari is a dead horse skull dressed with festive ivy or colorful streams for a mane.

She has baubles or lights for eyes and a white sheet or cloak draped over a post that someone controls her mischievous nature. 

From Christmas until the twelfth night, a singer, jester, and others travel with her.  Stopping at homes, Mari Lwyd sings and dances, sometimes reciting pwnco rhymes with the homeowner.

 If allowed into a home, good luck can expect all year long.  Mari is known for chasing people she likes and stealing things from people’s homes. 

Where did Mari Lwyd lore begin?  The Christian tradition believes Mari is the horse moved from the stable so Jesus could be born.  Mari, being pregnant, searched for a place to have her foal.  Most scholars agree Mari is pre-pagan.  During the 19th century, Welsh Methodist made the horse something to dread.  During the cold Welsh nights, people feared hearing the tapping of hooves in the streets.  People rose together to battle the evil horse. 

Mari Lwyd joins the company of Krampus and Gryla as festive lore that some see as harmless fun and others see them as an evil nuisance.

Categories: Uncategorized


A freelance writer and blogger who has spent 30 years in library service. A ghost hunter at heart and a lover of the macabre. I'm a writer of plays, monologue, and poetry for community theatre. Most importantly, be positive and love life.

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