PENARTH has marked the Welsh new year with the symbolic rolling of a Welsh giant’s head.

The Mari Lwyd event took place in the town on Saturday, January 13 and started with the rolling of a model of the head of Welsh giant Bendigeidfran down Cliff Hill to the beach where crowds gathered to watch.

The Hen Galan, Welsh new year, celebrations started with the head roll at Penarth Clifftop at around 12.30pm before moving to an event at Penarth Pier Pavilion at around 1pm.

This year’s Hen Galan celebration in Penarth was led by artists Richard Parry and Chris Glynn in association with Teulu Pen-y-Garth and the Coleridge in Wales Festival as well as support from Penarth Town Council and the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

Mari Lwyd is an old Welsh custom in which a party carrying a horse skull on a pole covered in a white cloth make their way from door to door singing and searching for hospitality.

There are many myths of the origin of the skull of the horse covered in a sheet that is Mari Lwyd.

Some say it is a relic from a Roman horse cult, others that it is the horse of Rhiannon who is a figure from Welsh folklore.

Some say it was part of a a pagan ritual but others believe it has Christian links with the name meaning Holy Mary.

Penarth’s Mari Lwyd season began on December 20 at Ysgol Pen-y-Garth’s PTA carol service and ended on Saturday.

The Mabinogion stories tell of the Welsh giant Bendigeidfran, ‘the Blessed Brân’, who’s head was taken after his death and buried in London.

The rolling of the head down the hill was to mark Bendigeidfran’s significance.

The organisers thanked all those who attended and also thanked those who helped organise the day of events in Penarth.