What is the Eisteddfod festival in 2024 all about?

This year, tens of thousands of young people from across Wales are gathering to celebrate Welsh language and culture at Europe’s largest traveling youth festival, Eisteddfod yr Urdd. The festival, which rotates locations across Wales and typically coincides with half term, is currently taking place in Maldwyn, Powys, from May 27 to June 1.

Eisteddfod yr Urdd features over 400 competitions in various categories such as music, literature, performing arts, street dance, cookery, fashion design, puppets, and arts and crafts. Both fluent Welsh speakers and learners are encouraged to participate in these competitions.

Organized by the national voluntary youth organization, Urdd Gobaith Cymru, the event caters to individuals aged eight to 25. This year, a record-breaking 100,000 participants have registered for the festival, marking the highest number in its history.

One of the festival’s highlights is its main competitions, particularly in poetry and storytelling, with winners receiving a specially crafted chair (y Gadair) or crown (y Goron). The festival has been a launching pad for many Welsh stars, like actor Iwan Rheon, who credited the Urdd Eisteddfod as the beginning of his career.

Additionally, the festival’s mascot, Mistar Urdd, has become an iconic figure since his debut in 1976. The red, green, and white character is now synonymous with the Urdd Gobaith Cymru logo. As the festival continues to attract record numbers of participants, there are hopes to increase the number of Welsh speakers, with the Welsh government setting a target of one million Welsh speakers by 2050.

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