The Mari Lwyd tradition was revived in Caerleon tonight following a 70 year hiatus.

The Caerleon Festival had organised the traditional Welsh event which involves a horse's skull. The midwinter tradition translates to Grey Mary or Grey Mare in English.

Around 30 people gathered outside the Bell Inn, Caerleon, earlier tonight to see the festivities. The players were all dressed in top hats with feathers, along with a person disguised as a horse who is known as the Mari.

The tradition is to go from house to house and sing at doors in an attempt to be let in and bring luck. Around 15 members of the Widders, a Chepstow-based border Morris dancing group, took part in the festivities which included singing Sosban Fach and Calon Lan before being let in to the pub in Caerleon.

Phillip Thackeray, 53, of Morris Street, Newport, said: "We went to the Mari Lwyd last year and Chepstow and were going next week as well. We absolutely love all of it.

"It's the tradition which makes it so special. I hope to see it continue in Newport."

There was also a performance of the Mummer's play which involved King George fighting with a Turkish Knight before a doctor revives him.

Adrian Smith, 42, a history teacher, along with his family came to the Bell Inn to see the Mari Lwyd for the first time.

He said: "It's fascinating and so enjoyable to watch. It's really interesting to hear the Welsh songs and experience the tradition. We've brought along our eight-year-old son Rupert to experience some culture."

Yvonne Cunningham, 30, who lives in Caerleon, said: "This is my first time seeing this. I've brought friends from Pontypridd with me tonight.

"It's brilliant - I just wish I knew the words to sing along."

The Mari Lwyd also took place at the Hanbury Arms in Caerleon.

The Caerleon Festival’s Greville Hunt said: “Traditionally the horse's eyes were beer bottles. I believe the skull we've used originated from Germany - they are quite difficult to come across.

"The Mari Lwyd is a great Welsh tradition which we wanted to revive in Caerleon. It's a festivity that brings the community out together."

He added: "We try to do something a bit different every year in the Caerleon Arts Festival and this year we choose to re-establish the Mari Lwyd. Caerleon is such an ancient town which deserves this tradition."

Mari Lwyd celebrations will also be held in Chepstow on January 17. They will start at the Three Tuns at 3pm and progress to the Afon Gwy at 5.30pm.

The main event will start at 6.30pm, meeting on the Wye Bridge.

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