Today I am beyond proud to welcome the wonderful Courtney Alameda to The Library! Courtney's debut novel, Shutter (coming from Feiwel & Friends in early February 2015) scared the living daylights out of me, but at the same time, the depth of characterization and her marvelous worldbuilding absolutely thrilled me.
Courtney's far more eloquent than I am, so I'll leave you in her very capable hands.
Hi! I’m Courtney Alameda, author of the soon-to-be published YA horror novel, SHUTTER. I love Christmastime and all things scary, so I wanted to celebrate by sharing some of my favorite Christmas beasties with everyone this year—twelve of them, to be exact! Join me and a few of my blogger friends every day from December 13 – 24, as we feature different holiday nightmares . . . if you dare!
So without further ado . . .
Nightmare Seven: MARI LWYD, THE ZOMBIE CHRISTMAS HORSE
I was planning to write about Perchta today, but honestly, I needed a break from most Christmas beasties’ naughty-or-nice shtick. Our Krampuses and Grylas and Yule Lads have been dreamed into existence to scare children into being good during the darkest time of the year, in which weary parents couldn’t possibly stand to hear, “Mom! Belsnickel’s touching me!” ONE more time, or else they might
strangle barricade their children outside. Permanently.
Ergo, I bring you MARI LWYD, the Zombie Christmas Horse. (Okay, it really translates into Grey Mare, but “zombie Christmas horse” is WAY more fun). She’s a real Welsh tradition, but she kind of reminds me of the White Walker king’s horse in GAME OF THRONES:
|I'd ride that|
|Yay! First prize!|
Drunken men parade the Mari Lywd down the streets with one goal in mind—to get into your house. To keep the zombie horse out-out-out, revelers engage in a battle of wits called the pwnco, which was a versifying contest between the Mari Lywd’s bearers and the house’s inhabitants . . . in Welsh, no less. Traditional and improvised verses are sung back and forth, insults are exchanged; and if the Mari Lywd and her “undead” bearers win, they must be invited inside for refreshments (and sometimes, bribes).
Despite the Mari Lwyd’s macabre visage, she’s actually a symbol of rebirth in Wales, and rides to remind others of what it really means to be alive. If you have to open the door to any beastie this holiday season, I really hope it’s the Mari Lywd . . . just be ready to rhyme in Welsh!
Thanks to the wonderful Maja for hosting this post! Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway below for a pre-ordered copy of SHUTTER, a “Reaper” necklace, and a signed bookplate. Please note that the giveaway is US only, and we promise prizes will not be a horse’s skull on a stick.
Happiest of holidays, everyone!