Wednesday, 26 July 2023

Immerse yourself in Welsh culture at the 2023 National Eisteddfod

If you’re staying with us in Caernarfon between 5th and 12th August 2023, your visit provides the ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in Welsh culture, as the National Eisteddfod is being held nearby during that week.

The National Eisteddfod (or to use its proper Welsh name, Yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol) is a ‘movable’ festival celebrating the Welsh language, history, culture and the arts. We say ‘movable’ because each year the location of the festival changes, alternating between north and south Wales.

In 2023 it’s the turn of Boduan on the Llŷn Peninsula to host the event. This is around 40 minutes’ drive from Caernarfon (get directions).

The Eisteddfod Genedlaethol is held on a huge field, or “Y Maes”, where there are dozens of tents and marquees and an enormous pavilion where the main performances take place.

Primarily, the purpose of an Eisteddfod is hundreds of people competing in a number of skills including music composition and performance, various types of dance, art and crafts, poetry, spoken word recitals (humour, scripture, monologues and so on), acting, singing, science and technology, and much more.

As well as the competitions, there are usually lots of other events including demonstrations, concerts and other performances. There will usually be a lot of ‘fringe’ events which take place away from the Maes, with pubs and village halls in surrounding villages hosting concerts by Welsh musicians of any number of musical genres.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that during the eight days of Yr Eisteddfod Genedlaethol, hundreds of thousands of people will travel from all over Wales – and back to Wales if they’ve moved away – to be part of the festival in some way or another. It’s a hugely social event where people can bump into friends they’ve not seen in ages, and socialise with Welsh-speaking friends, neighbours and relatives.

Other things to look out for on Y Maes include a large number of different food sellers, plus an even larger number of stalls selling handmade items or other goods of Welsh origin. Plus, the ceremony of welcoming the Gorsedd of Bards to the Maes to open the Eisteddfod is something the like of which you will probably never see anywhere else.

Although the entire festival is conducted via the medium of Welsh, non-Welsh speakers are very much welcome (as are well-behaved dogs), so do pop along if you can as it’s literally a once-a-year opportunity and if you miss this year’s festival you’ll need to travel to south Wales to catch the next one!

For full details about this year’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol and some information about the event’s background and history, please visit the official Eisteddfod Genedlaethol website.