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The Welsh Eisteddfodau

* (Eisteddfodau - pi. for eisteddfod, Welsh session derived from eistodd, to sit.)

No country in the world has a greater love of music and poetry than the people of Wales. Today, Eisteddfodau are held at scores of places throughout Wales, particularly from May to early November. The habit of holding similar events dates back to early history, and there are records of competitions for Welsh poets and musicians in the twelfth century. The Eisteddfod sprang from the Gorsedd, or National Assembly of Bards. It was held occasionally up to 1819, but since then has become an annual event for the encouragement of Welsh literature and music and the preservation of the Welsh language and ancient national customs.

The Royal National Eisteddfod of Wales is held annually early in August, in North and South Wales alternately, its actual venue varying from year to year. It attracts Welsh people from all over the word. The programme includes male and mixed choirs, brass-band concerts, many children's events, drama, arts and crafts and, of course, the ceremony of the Crowning of the Bard.

Next in importance is the great Llangollen International Music Eisteddfod, held early in July and attended by competitors from many countries, all wearing their picturesque and often colourful national costumes. It is an event probably without parallel anywhere in the world. There are at least twenty-five other major Eisteddfodau from May to November.

In addition to the Eisteddfodau, about thirty major Welsh Singing Festivals are held throughout Wales from May until early November.

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