Plunge Into Midwinter By Bringing Ancient Wales To Utah
Celebrate Midwinter by having a poetry slam with a horse skull.
Yes, you read that correctly. Let me explain and set the scene. The information in this piece comes from Wales.com and Atlas Obscura.
In the darkest months of the Welsh year, a white horse appears, the horse is the mysterious Mari Lwyd.
According to Atlas Obscura, “The image of a white horse has been a powerful symbol in the United Kingdom for at least 3,000 years.”
According to Wales.com, “The origins of Mari’s name are mysterious. One Welsh tradition of it, Grey Mare, connects it to the heritage of pale horses in Celtic and British mythology, many of whom can cross over to the Underworld.”
Another translation is Grey Mary. According to Wales.com, “Some scholars have linked her to a legend connected to the nativity story. A pregnant horse was sent out of the stables when Mary arrived to have Jesus, she spent dark days roaming the land trying to find somewhere new to have a foal.”
Mari is taken around a village often between Christmas Day and Twelfth Night. Mari is dressed in festive lights and decorations and is usually accompanied by an ostler, or in some regions, other folk characters like a jester and a Lady which would make the celebration more like Mummers’ Plays.
Mari and the group with her make their way from house to house singing songs and exchanging rhymes with the people that live in the house. If Mari and her group enter the house, it’s said that the household will have good luck for the year.
There you have it, if you plan on heading to Wales for midwinter, start memorizing some sonnets or poetry. You could even start brushing up on your flow, 8 Mile style just in case you encounter Mari and her crew.