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Wales: The National Eisteddfod (1) The Gorsedd Prayer

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Uploaded on Feb 14, 2008

Eisteddfod means something like 'a sitting', and is the annual competitive arts festival of Welsh language and culture - with prizes for poetry, prose, art, drama, dance, song, and many other aspects of artistic performance. It is all conducted in the medium of Welsh (though these days everyone who needs it has access to simultaneous translation!). Its roots go back over 800 years when Rhys ap Gruffydd, one of the Princes of Wales, began the tradition of awarding a chair to the best poet. However, the ceremonials and costumes you see here are romantic re-creations which nevertheless themselves first appeared in the 18th and 19th century. This extract is at the beginning of the chairing ceremony - the most important one of the festival. The crowd sing a prayer for the Gorsedd, the gathering of Bards - honorary positions held by those deemed as having made a significant contribution to Welsh life and culture.

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