When: 19th January 2013, from 2.30pm
£: Free (except the Ceilidh which costs £5)
What is it?
The Chepstow Wassail and Mari Lwyd is a very popular family friendly annual event of old traditions, strange customs, capers, and weird creatures.
The Wassail is an ancient tradition of blessing apple trees and asking for a good harvest in the coming year with lots of singing, dancing and cider drinking. The whole procedure is organised by The Wassail Butler and this year there will be three wassails.
The Mari Lwyd is an ancient South Wales custom of taking a horse skull dressed in a shroud from house to house… and pub to pub. It is a kind of First Footing Tradition (bringing good fortune). The Mari Lwyd (grey mare) is carried by the Mari group who try to gain entry to the house/pub by singing and riddle telling. There are usually around 6 – 8 Mari Lwyd groups from all over Wales, a Nottingham horse tradition called ”Poor Awd Oss” and a Gloucestershire tradition called ”The Broad” which is a bull’s head. And if that isn’t enough The Green Man sometimes turns up from the deepest part of the Forest of Dean.
The Meeting on the Border is known as ”The Oldest New Tradition in Wales”. At around 6.30pm The English Wassailers and The Welsh Mari Lwyders come together at the border (middle of the old iron bridge) exchange flags and drink from the Wassail Bowl. They wish each other Happy New Year with much dancing and celebration. Then the group (usually around 500 people) head back into Wales for The Mari Lwyd ceremony and finally The Ceilidh.
More info: www.thewidders.co.uk