Held since 1176, and now attracting over 170,000 visitors and 6,000 competitors, the National Eisteddfod of Wales (Eisteddfod Genedlaethol Cymru)
is the largest celebration of Welsh culture in the world.
Unlike the International Eisteddfod which invites entrants from around the world, but is always held in Llangollen, the National Eisteddfod is held in a different location each year, alternating between North and South Wales. It is a competition of poetry, music and song.
In 1176, Lord Rhys invited the poets and musicians of Wales to a competition - held in Cardigan. The best poet and musician were awarded a chair at the Lord's table. Many further Eisteddfodau were held by different nobles during the following years, and a whole festival developed around the competition. In the early 1800s, the Gorsedd of Bards became involved with the event, and therefore it was seen as an event of genuine cultural significance.
The National Eisteddfod Association was formed in 1880 to arrange an annual festival - which they have succeeded in doing, apart from two excusable occasions - 1914 and 1940.
The week-long festival is open to all, and in addition to the competition there are bardic ceremonies, concerts, and arts and crafts displays. The ceremonies are conducted in Welsh, but translation facilities are available. Also, taster classes in Welsh language are available for those interested.