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Y Pwngco

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Joined: 30 May 2013
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 8:25 pm    Post subject: Y Pwngco Reply with quote

How were the Christmas and New Year jollifications celebrated in the Abergavenny area? Was it by getting legless and then throwing up outside a pub as in previous years? Was it by snorting a few lines of coke in the gents?

These customs may have played their part. But this year something far more spine tingling made its presence felt.

The Mari Lwyd was paraded from pub to pub and maybe from one private house to another as well. The bells and ribbons on the grey mare's skull really give her a face lift. She doesn't look macabre at all, but like a faithful friend we're glad to see.

Sometimes she has blue lights in her eye sockets. The traditional lines, 'Here we come, innocent friends to ask permission to sing', don't look very inspired on paper. They might even look a bit too obsequious.

But I think it is faux humility which even sounds a little bit funny. There's a really great Mari Lwyd video on the net from Chepstow 2014 where the Mari Lwyd and a spectral equine friend dance like live things. They have been infused by the spirit of the season.

In Chepstow, the Mari Lwyd often shades into an Anglo-Saxon wassailing custom where the happy revellers serenade an apple tree.

Somebody watched the Mari Lwyd video a few years ago and asked on the message board underneath, 'In which European country is the Swansea Valley where they have this pagan custom? We have the same rites in Hungary.'

It does look like an ancient custom which must be at least Europe wide. It has 'pagan remnant' written all over it. But apparently we can't be entirely sure that it was celebrated in Wales before 1800.

You probably remember the ubiquitous picture of the top hatted reveller with the Mari Lwyd which was reproduced in our O level text book on Welsh history for instance. Our history teacher told us it was probably the only photograph the guy had ever had taken of himself in his life. The technology was so new.

This gave me the impression that it was taken in about the 1840s. But people now say it is from the early 1900s.

We may never know how old the Mari Lwyd is. But it was great to see the Grey Mare come to Y Fenni.
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Joined: 09 Feb 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 11:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is " pwngco " another variant of what I write as " pwnco " i.e. an exchange of rhymes ?



I would like to speculate here as to why people sang rhymes outside other's houses in the middle of the night i.e. " ponco " was a kind of simple fried / griddled pancake made of a mix of flour and fat and there were other things like this e.g. " poncogau " could be made of parsnips mashed up with butter.

Then again there is a bunch of words like - pyngaf, pyngiaf, pwngaf : pyngo, pyngu, pyngiad, pyngad, pwngo, pwngad, pwngan - which basically allude to things being " bunched " ... and then again - pwnga means " boil, blister, abscess, knob, cluster, bunch ... " ... So perhaps the imagery was to do with " a bunch of people on the doorstep " who were a sort of cross between carol singers and trick'o'traters ... " pwncwyr " - " participants in a type of disputation in which one side answers the other in verse."
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