Gorsedd Ceremonies Today

Six Gorsedd ceremonies are held annually:

Proclamation Ceremony: This ceremony must be held at least a year and a day before the start of the Eisteddfod.  The first copy of the List of Competitions is presented to the Archdruid by the chair of the local committee, and once this is done, the list is public and available for anyone thinking of competing.  Nowadays, we often erect a replica stone circle if there is no accessible Gorsedd Circle locally.

Monday morning: This is the first ceremony during Eisteddfod week, and is one of two ceremonies where the Gorsedd honours and welcomes new members.  On Monday morning those who have succeeded in the Gorsedd examination or are eligible because of their degree in literature, music, drama or art take part in the ceremony, as well as the winner of the Osborne Roberts Memorial Prize every year and the winners of the Urdd Crown and Chair. White robes are only awarded to the winners of the National Eisteddfod’s main prizes.

The ceremony is held on the Eisteddfod Maes, and the replica stones are often used as there are no original stones on the Maes.

Monday afternoon: This is the first Gorsedd ceremony on the Pavilion stage, the Crowning Ceremony.  The ceremony is led by the Archdruid and honours one of Wales’ leading poets.  The Gorsedd are on stage during the ceremony and the winner is escorted to the stage by an official retinue.  The winner’s name is a secret until it is announced by the Archdruid once s/he has reached the stage.  The ceremony also sees the Gorsedd welcome guests from other Celtic countries to the stage.

Wednesday afternoon: This is the second ceremony on the Pavilion stage honouring the best prose writer, or the Prose Medal Ceremony.  The ceremony is similar to the Crowning on Monday with the Archdruid leading the proceedings. Again, the winner’s name is a well guarded secret until s/he reaches the stage.

Friday morning: This is an open-air ceremony if the weather is favourable, and a chance to welcome more new members to the Gorsedd.  Usually, the honorary members are welcomed on Friday, and these include individuals from all over Wales and beyond who have contributed greatly to Wales or the Welsh language and culture.  All honorary members receive either Green Robes or Blue Robes, dependent on their field of interest.  The names of those being honoured are announced in May.

Friday afternoon: The final ceremony of the week, when the winner of the Eisteddfod Chair is honoured.  This ceremony is held on the Pavilion stage and the building is often packed, to find out whom – if anyone – has won the coveted prize.  Again, the ceremony is similar to those held on Monday and Wednesday, and the stage is usually full of Gorsedd members keen to be part of this ceremony at the end of the week.  Members honoured on Friday morning often choose to be on stage during the Chairing ceremony.