Trac Cymru is aiming to ensure that the Welsh folk traditions survive and flourish in the years to come as a vibrant and active part of local community life. We have worked to boost participation in some of the nation’s most iconic traditions – including the dramatic ancient rituals surrounding the Mari Lwyd, ‘the winter horse’. 

The Mari Lwyd is uniquely Welsh but is connected to a tradition stretching across Europe and far back in time. The custom features an eye-catching horse’s skull mounted on a pole and decorated with ribbons and bells, which is paraded through communities to initiate a series of competitive ‘Pwnco’ poetry exchanges across people’s doorways – rather like an ancient form of rap battle! 

Trac Cymru has worked with local enthusiasts across the country to deliver Mari Lwyd workshops with schools and community groups, bringing people together to learn about and celebrate this unique Welsh tradition. 

Because a real horse skull is not always available, we commissioned David Pitt to design a flat-pack version for people to build their own life-size model. A beautifully illustrated booklet has also been published by Trac, in which the historian Rhiannon Ifans explains the history of the custom and gives versions of a number of traditional songs together with translations of the verses – this booklet can be purchased from the Trac Cymru website, and you can contact us to purchase your own Mari Lwyd flat pack kit ready for the upcoming winter season.

With your help, Trac Cymru will continue to develop new projects and resources to ensure that every community can benefit from our vibrant living cultural traditions – please consider supporting us by making a donation today. 

Please help us to celebrate the achievements of Trac Cymru’s first 21+1 years of work by sharing our stories with your friends and colleagues, and join us in posting your own happy memories about Welsh folk music on social media #TRAC21.

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