Monday, December 5, 2016

K.A.C. 2016 - T - 20 ...

      Oh, Santa, not again! You had One Job ... our vintage card today concerns a rather confused Claus - so if your presents are late this year, you'll know why. 

     And if you want a case of life imitating art, we've got that, too! At this point, I'm looking at this photo imagining the conversation between our two hapless Meleagris gallopavo (commonly known as the domestic turkey or wild turkey(s)) and one going, "You know what, Stan? It's just not worth it ... next year, let's LET OURSELVES be caught ... ANYTHING is better than this!" And speaking of critters who pull sleighs and the like, let's turn to today's K.A.C. subject ... surprisingly NOT reindeer - read on!

Photo by R. fiend
      Hello, handsome! Over the years, we've covered a TON of odd holiday traditions, but one that continues to pop up this time of year in a variety of different ways is that of mummering - from the traditional carolers going door to door singing old familiar Christmas tunes in the hope of receiving some food or drink from grateful listeners to the belsnicklers (or "naughty mummers", as I tagged them in my November 21st, 2011 blog entry). Not to be outdone, there is a Welsh variation on all this called the Mari Lwyd (Grey Mare) - it involves this photogenic beauty, which is essentially a dolled-up horse's skull attached to a pole, which is then added to a sheet or sackcloth (carried by a hidden person) and taken house to house, along with other revelers, to wassail the homeowners with song begging entry into their house. I'm just saying right here and now - the folks in South Wales where this happens year in and year out are made of MUCH sterner stuff than Yours Truly - if I looked out my front door and saw a singing, sheet-covered horse's skull demanding to come in, there is NO WAY that is happening! There is not enough Holiday Cheer on Earth for me to let that cross my threshold!
     But is gets better! Mr. (D)Ed sings for entry and the homeowners sing back to him, denying him entry (smart!) - the songs go back and forth on why he should be let in versus why he shouldn't until the homeowners relent and open the door (and are never seen again) ... er, and feed the wassails food and drink. There are a number of prevailing theories as to the origin of this Holiday Horror, from the Christian explanation of it commemorating the flight into Egypt by Joseph, Mary and Baby Jesus on the Ass (with the skull representing the donkey) to the folklorists who believe it predates Christianity and is part of an old Pagan myth as a 'death horse' tied to Samhain (if correct, he wandered off and got lost for a couple of months and showed up again around Christmas!) - and it has also been labeled a 'bringer of fertility' (OK, that one is Right Out!). To read more about its history and origins, I refer you to the Wikipedia entry found below:

     Giddyup!  Coming Tomorrow: Strap in and be prepared to take the G-forces as Santa gets flung into space ... and you're going with him!

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