Happy New Year with Mari Lwyd

December 31, 2012

Today we were introduced to something that is both delightfully skull-ish and appropriately new year-ish.  What you ask?  Well if you had read the title of the post you would already know… but in case you didnt it’s Mari Lwyd.

Mari Lwyd, or the Grey mare, is a Welsh tradition and although we aren’t 100% sure what it entails we imagine it as an olde school rap battle of sorts where visitors would knock on the door of houses and challenge the people inside to a singing contest with the winner taking all (all being entry into the house and hopefully some good food and booze).  The coolest part of the story however, is that the people would be accompanied by a horses skull, with bottletops or similar as eyes and a veil-like white cloth to cover the guy who drew the short straw and was carrying around the head on the stick.


If you have a close look at the old girl above, in addition to some pretty mean streamers and emerald eyes to die for, you can see the infraorbital foramen (above the teeth on the side) and the mental foramen (below the teeth at the front).  We haven’t seen any good ones for a while so in case you had forgotten the foramen are simply holes in the skull for blood vessels and nerves to travel through.

If you are lucky enough to receive a visit from Mari Lwyd tonight please send us pics! And from V and E at Craniophiles, we hope you have very fun and safe new years celebrations and we look forward to being craniophillic with you in 2013!


  1. I don’t want to be a grumpypuss, but the nitpicker in me insists on doing a quiet nudge that the skull in the picture is actually a cattle skull… Sorry about that, and happy new year to you too. Always fun to see more bone blogs out there.

    • Not at all! Accuracy is important. Can you edify us on how you spotted the difference?

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