Esedhvos Festival of Cornish Culture
Gorsedh Kernow exists to maintain the national Celtic spirit of Cornwall and give expression to such spirit; to encourage the study of Cornish history and the Cornish language; to foster Cornish literature, art, music, dance and sport; to link Cornwall with other Celtic countries, and to promote a spirit of peace and co-operation among those who work in Cornwall’s honour.
The Esedhvos Festival, is held every year at a different location in Cornwall to celebrate Cornwall's distinctive identity and Celtic heritage, newly recognised under the Council of Europe’s Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The host town for 2017 is Launceston and will include the annual Bardic ceremony on the Saturday. There will also be a variety of events around the town, many of which are free, including a celebration of Cornish music and dance.
“Launceston has a proud place in Cornwall’s story. It is the historic capital of Cornwall and the castle was built by Brian of Brittany, the Breton knight who became the first Earl of Cornwall following the Norman Conquest. The creation of this earldom recognised Cornwall’s historic integrity and laid the foundations for the constitutional differences that make modern Cornwall distinct from England.” Merv Davey, Telynyor an Weryn, Grand Bard of Cornwall.
The main Gorsedh Kernow Bardic ceremony will take place on Saturday 2nd September in the town square, here new Bards will be initiated, competition winners will receive prizes and special Awards given.
The full programme for the 2017 Festival will be posted on the Festival website here but the initial events are...
Wednesday 30th August onwards
Grand Bard’s chair on display @ St Mary Magdalene Church, Launceston
Thursday 31st August
Daytime Book Festival @ Launceston Town Hall
Evening Presentation and Display of Gorsedh Kernow Adults Awards & Competitions and Young People’s Awards @ Launceston Town Hall
Friday 1st September
Daytime Conference “Cornish Culture and Tourism – Friends or Foes?” @ Launceston Town Hall. Tickets £5 to include pasty lunch
Evening Cornish Troyl/Ceilidh with Carmen Hunt & ScootsKernow @ Launceston Town Hall
Saturday 2nd September
Morning Cornish stalls open @ Launceston Castle
Procession of Bards from Central Methodist Church, Launceston via The Square to Launceston Castle for
Gorsedh Kernow Bardic ceremony @ Launceston Castle or @ St Mary Magdalene Church if wet
Early evening Gala Concert @ Central Methodist Church, Launceston.
Later evening Cornish singalong @ The Bell Inn
Sunday 3rd September
Morning Myttin Lowender Cornish taster session
Later morning History Walk around Launceston
Afternoon Evensong in Cornish @ St Mary Magdalene Church, Launceston
For more info about Launceston please visit the website www.launcestonthen.co.uk
The revival of Gorsedh Kernow began at Boscawen Un on September 21st 1928 with the initiation of 12 Bards by the Archdruid Pedrog of Wales and these days representatives from our fellow Celtic nations of Wales and Brittany join our celebrations each year in Cornwall. Bardships are awarded in recognition of work done for Cornwall or for high proficiency in the Cornish language, Kernewek, which is used in all Bardic Ceremonies, but can easily be understood by the English translation.
Ceremonies begin with the sounding of the Korn Gwlas to the four points of the compass, a symbolic call to all Cornwall, the Ceremony of Peace and Joining of the Sword symbolising the uniting of the three Celtic Nations of Cornwall, Wales and Brittany. The Ceremony of the Offering is followed by ‘Arta ef a Dheu’ - the old belief that Arthur will return and restore the nationhood of Cornwall, and finally a repeat of The Ceremony of Peace.