Contemporising Custom: the re-imagining of the Mari Lwyd

Howell, David (2018) Contemporising Custom: the re-imagining of the Mari Lwyd. International Journal of Intangible Heritage, 13. pp. 66-79. ISSN 1975-3586

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Abstract

Intangible forms of heritage are particularly vulnerable and susceptible to change. While evolution is inevitable for a living entity, at what point do we consider a tradition to have evolved beyond the parameters of that which made it distinctive? This article focuses on the Welsh tradition of the Mari Lwyd. This seasonal, animal head tradition is celebrated in Wales as a resistant, surviving legacy and is frequently described as a continuance of an 'ancient tradition'. However, the legitimacy of this claim is questionable. Instead, this paper proposes that the contemporary Mari Lwyd seen in Wales today, are unique entities, distinct from the historically recorded examples. In many respects, they should be treated as a new form of intangible heritage, which have emerged only in the last few decades. Understanding how the historical variant of this tradition has evolved into the distinct modern version is of critical importance in terms of understanding how 'elements' of intangible heritage are altered and manipulated beyond the confines of what first made them distinctive and considered to be of importance.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Mari Lwyd; Wales; devolution; revivals; artificiality; Trac; pwnco
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GR Folklore
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 17 Aug 2018 10:24
Last Modified: 23 Aug 2018 03:40
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/5861

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