The National Eisteddfod is held at a revolving location throughout Wales every year, during the first week of August. It celebrates the rich linguistic and cultural heritage of Wales, with competitions, events, and activities that draw around 150,000 visitors every year. It is an event that is unique throughout Europe, and is of great importance to Wales.

The origins of the festival can be traced back to the 12th century, when Lord Rhys invited poets and musicians from around Wales to perform at his castle in Cardigan in 1176. The name Eisteddfod can be literally be translated as ‘sitting’. It is thought that it comes from the tradition of awarding a hand carved chair to the best poet and musician at the festival.

The carved chair was symbolic of a ‘seat at the Lord’s table’ and the tradition is continued in the present-day Eisteddfod. The competition winners are also invited to take part in the ‘Crowning of the Bard’ ceremony. Since the first event at Cardigan Castle, festivals of music and poetry began to take place all over Wales.

By the 18th century, the events were to become less frequent and popular, before enjoying a revival in the 19th century. In 1880 the National Eisteddfod Association came into being, ensuring that the festival became a regular annual event at different locations around Wales.

Everyone is welcome, especially people who are keen to speak or start learning the Welsh language, and teachers will be on hand for tuition. As well as performances of poetry and plays, there are dancing and singing contests held in the central pavilion.

Away from the main action, there are numerous stalls selling food, books, records, and crafts. This year’s event will be held from 30 July to 6 August at Tregaron in Ceredigion, West Wales.

 

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