National Eisteddfod

Learn more about the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, where Wales celebrates its history, heritage, language, arts, culture, and more!

No ratings yet. Log in to rate.

Did you know that Wales has its own language? Or that the Welsh language has a vibrant, growing, exciting music scene? We even have our own national dish and a cake named after us!

What is the National Eisteddfod? / Beth yw'r Eisteddfod Genedlaethol?

  • Celebration of Welsh culture and language (Cymraeg)
  • Held during the first week of August every year
  • Competition-based festival, including
    • Singing
    • Dancing
    • Recitals 

History / Hanes

  • Origins

    • The first historical Eisteddfod (eye-steth-ffod) can be traced back to 1176
    • Bardic competition held in Cardigan Castle
    • Competition-based festival
    • Held locally
  • Modern Celebrations

    • First National Eisteddfod of Wales celebrations were held in Aberdare back in 1861

    • Still competition-based

    • Evolved into a festival celebrating Welsh culture and language
    • Alternates between North and South Wales locations each year

Welsh Language / Iaith Gymraeg

  • Cymraeg (come-raig)
  • Celtic language
  • One of the oldest in the world
  • Spoken in Britain even before the Roman occupation - as far back as 600 BC!
  • Saw a decline in usage around 1911, but it endured and is now seeing a renewed increase in popularity
  • You'll find it on road signs, in supermarkets, and spoken on the street
  • Hard-fought, dedicated Welsh-language TV channelS4C

Culture / Diwylliant

Bands / Bandiau

There's no shortage of bands from Wales - Manic Street Preachers, Super Furry Animals, Feeder, Catfish and the Bottlemen - but there is also a growing Welsh language music scene. Here are a few to get you started!

Films & TV / Ffilmiau & Teleddu

  • Hedd Wyn (film)
    • Anti-war biopic
  • Y Swn (film)
    • Story of Welsh politician Gwynfor Evans and his campaign for a Welsh language television in Wales

  • Y Gwyll (TV series, English language version: Hinterland)
    • A Welsh-noir crime drama set in mid-Wales
  • 35 Diwrnod (TV series)
    • A gripping whodunnit murder mystery

Food / Bwyd

  • Welsh Rarebit
    • Ultimate Welsh comfort food!
    • Welsh cheese mixed with mustard or beer, generously spread over toasted bread
  • Cawl (ca-ool)
    • Considered the national dish of Wales
    • Dates back to the 14th century
    • Stew made of lamb, leeks, and other seasonal vegetables
  • Cockles
    • Small, shelled molluscs
    • Traditionally seen as a Welsh breakfast but now enjoyed as a snack with a dash of vinegar
    • Originally (though no longer) transported by donkey from Gower for sale in town!
  • Bara Brith
    • Sweet afternoon pick-me-up
    • Cake infused with tea, dried fruits and spices
    • Enjoyed with butter and a cuppa
  • Welsh Cakes
    • Can be found in almost all Welsh markets
    • Soft, circular cakes dusted in sugar
    • Traditionally contain sultanas but can be found with chocolate chips too
  • Laverbread
    • The Welshman's Caviar
    • Boiled seaweed mixed with oats and then fried
    • Part of the Welsh Breakfast

Language / Iaith

If you have some Welsh-speaking housemates, impress them by banging out a couple of these sayings:

  • Shwmae! (shoo-my)
    • A versatile and informal greeting that can be used at any time of the day
  • Ti'n iawn? (teen ya-oon)
    • An informal way of asking how someone is; "you ok?"
  • Diolch (dee-ol-ch - the ch as in the Scottish 'loch')
    • Thank you
  • Bore da! (boreh dah)
    • Good morning!
  • Prynhawn da (prin-how-n dah)
    • Good afternoon
  • Nos da (norse dah)
    • Good night
  • Hwyl! (hor-eel)
    • Bye!

This article will give you a good basis for understanding the Eisteddfod and some bits and bobs of Welsh culture and language - there are plenty of resources online if you want to find out more about the history of our amazing country, or even learn how to speak Cymraeg!

St David’s Day