4. Wales’ Mari Lwyd
In late December through to January, a knock at your door might unveil a strange visitor – namely an elaborately decorated horse’s skull attached to a long wood pole and covered by a sheet or blanket. It’s the Mari Lwyd – the Grey Mare – and her party of five or six revelers. Don’t be scared; the Mari Lwyd and her handlers travel through town singing and engaging residents in rhyming contests. Ideally, the Mari Lwyd and her friends win the impromptu competition, thus gaining entry to the home or pub where their presence is said to bring good luck.
(Photo courtesy of arosmae/Flickr)