Camping in Snowdonia

Mari Gwern Gôf

Besides being a working farm and family-run campsite, Gwern Gof Isaf is also proud to be the home of Mari Gwern Gôf. The Mari Lwyd tradition is a seasonal custom similar in theme to many other winter costuming traditions found all across the world. The character of the Mari Lwyd, recognisable by her horse's skull head, is accompanied by a host of other folk characters and visits neighbouring farms and pubs. Upon the arrival of the Mari Lwyd and her retinue a ritual battle of poetry, song, and wit ensues with the mischievous visitors attempting to gain entry in order to partake of the food and alcohol that is sure to be inside. Once indoors the Mari and her party bring in a little playful chaos as well as good luck for the new year to all who are inside. Today offerings of food and drink to the revellers may also be supplemented by small monetary donations for local charity. This living tradition has had a recent resurgence in Wales and throughout the world in places where Welsh immigrants have settled. With her singular appearance and delightful demeanour the Mari Lwyd is helping to bring back an awareness of and appreciation for the Welsh language and many of Wales' forgotten traditions.

Photos by Nick Livesey

For more about the Mari Lwyd tradition:

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