Formal assembly of Welsh bards and minstrels that originated in the traditions of medieval court bards. Early eisteddfods were competitions of musicians (especially harpists) and poets from which new musical, literary, and oratorical forms emerged. The assembly at Carmarthen in 1451 authoritatively established the arrangement of the strict metres of Welsh poetry. The modern annual National Eisteddfod, revived in the 19th century, includes awards for music, prose, drama, and art, but the investiture of the winning poet remains its high point.
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An eisteddfod (Welsh ə(i)ˈstɛðvɔd; plural eisteddfodau [-stɛðˈvɔdaɨ] or eisteddfods) is a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance. The tradition of such a meeting of Welsh artists dates back to at least the 12th century, when a festival of poetry and music was held by Rhys ap Gruffydd of Deheubarth at his court in Cardigan in 1176 but, with the decline of the bardic tradition, it fell into abeyance. The present-day format owes much to an eighteenth-century revival arising out of a number of informal eisteddfodau. The word eisteddfod is derived from the Welsh word eistedd, meaning "sit".
"The Gentleman's Magazine" of October, 1792 reported on the revival of the eisteddfod tradition.
The Blue Books' notorious attack on the character of the Welsh as a nation in 1846 led to public anger and the belief that it was important for the Welsh to create a new national image. By the 1850s people began to talk of a national eisteddfod to showcase Wales's culture. In 1858 John Williams ab Ithel held a "National" Eisteddfod complete with Gorsedd in Llangollen. "The great Llangollen Eisteddfod of 1858" was a significant event. Thomas Stephens won a prize with an essay demolishing the claim of John Williams (the events organiser) that Madoc discovered America. As Williams had expected Stephens's essay to reinforce the myth, he was not willing to award the prize to Stephens and, it is recorded, "matters became turbulent". This eisteddfod also saw the first public appearance of John Ceiriog Hughes who won a prize for a love poem, Myfanwy Fychan of Dinas Brân, which became an instant hit. There is speculation that this was a result of its depiction of a "deserving, beautiful, moral, well-mannered Welshwoman", in stark contrast to The Blue Books' depiction of Welsh women as having questionable morals.
The National Eisteddfod Council was created after Llangollen and the Gorsedd consequently merged with it. The Gorsedd holds the right of proclamation and of governance while the Council organises the event. The first true National Eisteddfod organised by the Council was held in Denbigh in 1860 on a pattern that continues to the present day.
The most important eisteddfod is the National Eisteddfod of Wales, the largest festival of competitive music and poetry in Europe. Its eight days of competitions and performances, entirely in the Welsh language, are staged annually in the first week of August usually alternating between North and South Wales (see the main National Eisteddfod of Wales article for a full list of past and future venues). Over 6000 people competed at the 2006 National Eisteddfod with 150,000 visitors attending.
Recent Eisteddfodau have been held at:
|2002||St David's, Pembrokeshire|
Future National Eisteddfodau are scheduled to be held at:
Recent Urdd Eisteddfodau have been held at:
Future eisteddfodau are scheduled to be held at:
The International Eisteddfod is held annually in Llangollen, Denbighshire each year in July. 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. It was set up in 1947 and begins with a message of peace. In 2004, it was (unsuccessfully) nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Terry Waite, who has been actively involved with the eisteddfod.
Eisteddfod and the Olympics: More in Common Than We Think? DAFYDD WIGLEY Former Caernarfon MP and Ex-National Assembly Member
Aug 16, 2012; Byline: DAFYDD WIGLEY 'IT taught me that I had to work hard to win; more importantly it taught me how to lose". The words of a...