Eisteddfod

From Academic Kids

The Eisteddfod (literally 'sitting', plural: eisteddfodau) is a Welsh festival of literature, music, and song. The tradition of such a meeting of Welsh artists dates back to at least the 12th century, but with the decline of the bardic tradition fell into abeyance. The present-day format owes much to an eighteenth century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau.

The most important eisteddfod is the National Eisteddfod, held annually and usually alternating between North and South Wales, and taking place entirely in the Welsh language. It has a heavy druidic flavour, with the crowning and chairing ceremonies for the victorious poets being attended by bards in flowing white costumes, dancing maidens, trumpet fanfares and a symbolic horn of plenty. However, the heritage of this ceremony is of dubious provenance and owes its existence within the Eisteddfod structure to Iolo Morganwg, whose Gorsedd ceremonies were adopted by the Eisteddfod from 1819.

Nevertheless, it is taken very seriously, and an award of a crown or a chair for poetry is a great honour. One of the most dramatic events in Eisteddfod history was the award of the 1917 chair to the poet Ellis Humphrey Evans, bardic name Hedd Wyn, for the poem Yr Arwr (The Hero). The winner was announced, and the crowd waited for winner to stand up to accept the traditional congratulations before the chairing ceremony, but no winner appeared. It was then announced that Hedd Wyn had been killed the previous month on the battlefield in Belgium. These events were portrayed in the Academy Award nominated film Hedd Wyn.

Another important eisteddfod in the calendar is 'Eisteddfod Yr Urdd', or the youth eisteddfod. Organised by Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the Youth League of Wales, it brings together children from the age of 7, up to young adults of 24, from all across Wales, for a week of competition of singing, recitation, dancing, acting and musicianship.

Another Eisteddfod is the International Eisteddfod, held annually in Llangollen. Choirs, singing groups, folk dancers and other groups attend from all over the world, sharing their national folk traditions in one of the world's great festivals of the arts.

National Eisteddfod venues

External links

no:Eisteddfod sv:Eisteddfod

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