Country: South Wales
When: Christmas period
First recorded in 1800, the tradition of the Mari Lywd (Welsh Y Fari Lwyd), is much older, possibly dating to ancient Celtic origins. The Mari Lywd is the skull of a horse, buried in some traditions throughout the year until the Christmas season where it is uncovered, cleaned, and attached to a pole. The skull is then converted with a sheet and decorated with ribbons.
The mari Lwyd would then be paraded and followed by a gathering of people in bright costumes, including the characters of Punch and Judy, whose origins are linked to the seasonal character of the Lord of Misrule. The group would then visit from house to house, in the tradition of wassailing, singing certain songs to gain entry, where the inhabitants would refuse them with a following song in turn, until they were finally admitted and given food and drink. An ancient custom combining the trick or treat tradition of Halloween, with that of Christmas Caroling.
Image is orginal Inspired by the Christmas mythology and comes on a wooden slice and hung with ribbon, the text of the myth as above is also displayed on the back of the ornament.
The Folklore of Christmas. Mari Lywd
Size various: Approximately 4" Height x 4" Width