I’ve spoken fluent Welsh (as an adult learner) for over half my life and one way I’ve grown into the culture is by attending the Welsh National Eisteddfod or Eisteddfod Genedlaeathol Cymru. It’s held for the first week of August each summer. The location changes from year to year.
The National Eisteddfod is a huge cultural and social celebration (with a dash of politics and commerce thrown in). Everything is held in Welsh (with simultaneous translation through headphones for those who need it). It’s only the largest of a whole pyramid of local and regional eisteddfodau (that’s the plural of eisteddfod) held throughout Wales (and beyond, for example in the Welsh-speaking community of Patagonia, Argentina). There’s also an international eisteddfod (at Llangollen)
The National Eisteddfod is a huge inspiration for the new learner (as I found in 1988 when I first attended, at Casnewydd/Newport).
It’s also a great day out for tourists or the merely curious.
And don’t be shy if you don’t speak Welsh!
Before too long, I’ll expand this post into a fuller guide.
If you’re thinking of attending “y Gen” (as the National Eisteddfod is nicknamed), you won’t want to wait for that. (2021 UPDATE: for the second year running, this year’s National Eisteddfod will be held on-line).
I’ve re-issued two daily vlogs I shot at the 2018 National Eisteddfod in Caerdydd/Cardiff (the capital city of Wales).
The vlogs will give you a sense of the “hwyl” (fun) that surrounds this annual highpoint on the Welsh language calendar.
You’ll not only get a real flavour of what the Eisteddfod is all about, you’ll hear quite a bit of Welsh too. Don’t worry, though! I guide you through in yr iaith fain (English or “the thin language”).
If you’re keen to find out more about Welsh, my good friend and fellow Welsh-learner Kerstin Cable explores in her “Dabbler’s Guide to Welsh”. It’s a great value taster of what to expect if you dive in to Welsh. Check out her info and enrolment page here: Kerstin’s “Dabbler’s Guide”.
You can also check out two of my favourite posts here on Howtogetfuent: Ten reasons to learn Welsh and Ten ways to support Welsh, even if you don’t speak the language.
Questions about the eisteddfod? Just drop them in the comments below!