|Where:||Chepstow Riverbank, Border Bridge and Lower Town|
|When:||Weekend in mid- to late- January|
|Time:||Afternoon from 2pm and evening until late|
This is a recent revival of the ancient custom of wassailing the apple trees combined with the perhaps even more exciting Mari Lwyd, the skull-topped hobby-horse of Welsh folklore. Highlights include wassailing, mumming and morris dancing , the ceremonial meeting of the Welsh and English at The Border Bridge and the Mari Lwyd at the museum including the traditional singing , followed by a ceilidh at the Drill Hall.
I was led astray by an incorrect internet article that said the event no longer takes place but fortunately someone was able to put me right (see Comments) – it’s alive and kicking and we were lucky enough to get there in 2012. There’s plenty to keep all ages entertained all day. We crossed the bridge for the English Wassail, then met the Welsh side again on the bridge later. Cider is provided regularly and the hosts are very welcoming – the atmosphere here is second to none. Host morris side the Widders give particularly spirited performances and this is a well organised event. If you like Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival, you’ll like this – there are fewer morris sides but more alternative performances. Theres a handy car-park beside the Castle which is near the performance venues.
The ceilidh costs £6 but all the other events are free.
In 2017 it was on Saturday January 21st – 2018 date is yet to be announced.
Printed programmes are available in town – all the info and timings for the different parts of the festival is on the website well in advance.
Clcik here for the event website : http://chepstowwassailmari.co.uk/
Click here for the organisers website : http://www.thewidders.co.uk/index.php
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