THE Chepstow Mari Lwyd and Wassail celebration made a successful return after a four-year absence.

Hundreds joined in with the fun in and around the riverside and castle areas.

The Mari Lwyd is one of Wales’ oldest traditions, and saw several Morris groups parade their traditional Beasts and Maris through the town alongside dancing, singing, music and good cheer.

The Mari Lwyd is a decorated, shrouded horse skull traditionally carried from house to house or pub by the group of performers who attempt to gain entry for food and drink through song, rhyme and riddles called “the Pwnco”, a rhyme/song battle between the Mari group and the inhabitants. 

After some singing, daft capers, and banter, the Mari is eventually allowed inside to partake of small food and drink before blessing the house and its inhabitants (thlwncdestyn) wish all a happy new year and move on to the next port of call. 

The procession was combined with the tradition of wassailing the apple trees with singing, dancing, drinking and general merrymaking in the hope of encouraging the spirits to provide a good harvest.