For Art's Sake...
This week is a very special week for Wales. Never mind all the brilliant successes of Team GB at the Olympics, it's time for the National Eisteddfod of Wales - the most celebrated, and, some consider the most important, of all the annual Eisteddfodau that are held each year in Wales.
The Eisteddfod is a cultural festival, that celebrates the very heart of Wales, it's people, history and culture, as well as the importance of local community. Although it certainly is a celebration of Wales and it's language, the festival is not exclusively for Welsh speakers. In recent years, the organisers have extended the welcome to anyone who is interested in Wales or it's hugely varied culture.
The Eisteddfod takes place in a different town each year, alternating between a venue in North and South Wales, so that it is accessible for as much of Wales as possible. This year, it takes place in the Vale of Glamorgan, and is expected to draw crowds of almost 160,000 people.
The history of Eisteddfodau in Wales is thought to date as far back as the twelfth century, when Lord Rhys invited poets and musicians to perform at a great gathering. The origins of the modern Eisteddfod date back to 1880, when the National Eisteddfod Association was formed and the inaugral event took place in Caernarfon.
There's loads and loads going on this year in the Vale of Glamorgan Eisteddfod - from face painting to poetry and from ball games to bands. If you fancy a little trip down to South Wales, then you can buy tickets and find all the info you need on the Eisteddfod website (click here)
Eisteddfod tents 2008 (image by Patrick on wiki-commons)