Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient

Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient
The Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient (Festival Interceltique de Lorient / Gouelioù Etrekeltiek An Oriant) is an annual festival dedicated to Celtic culture. It takes place in the French city of Lorient located in the cultural region of Brittany.

Brittany and its people (Bretons) are recognized as one of the six Celtic nations, i.e. territories in western Europe where Celtic languages or cultural traits have survived. The Celtic name of Brittany is Breizh. The Breton language has about 200,000 native speakers and is classified as severely endangered by UNESCO.

The Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient was created to help preserve the language and culture of the Breton people. It was founded in 1971 by musician, collector and member of the Breton movement Polig Monjarret. The festival takes place every August. Although focused on the cultural traditions of the Breton people, it also presents the culture of other Celtic nations. The festival features traditional music, dance, theater, visual arts, crafts, sport, and cuisine.

The Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient welcomes folk groups and performers from Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Cumbria, the Isle of Man, Cape Breton Island, Asturias, Galicia, Acadia, and other regions where there is a Celtic diaspora.

The festival kicks off with a traditional supper held in Lorient’s harbor district. The main dish at the supper is cotriade (kaoteriad), a fish stew made with different kinds of fish. Unlike another French specialty, bouillabaisse, it doesn’t contain shellfish. The supper is accompanied by traditional Breton music and sea shanties.

On Sunday morning, the Grand Parade of Celtic Nations marches through the city. It involves over 3,500 singers, dancers and musicians from all Celtic nations parading in traditional costume.

One of the festival’s main highlights is the National Bagadoù Championship. A bagad (plural bagadoù) is a Breton band composed of bagpipes, bombards and drums, inspired by Scottish pipe bands. Every major city and town in Brittany has at least one bagad. The National Championship features the best bagadoù from all over Brittany. There’s also an individual competition for pipers.

Alongside the supper, parade and pipe band competition, the program of the Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient includes a variety of workshops, dance displays, and folk and traditional music concerts. The most spectacular performances are held in the evenings at Stade du Moustoir, a multi-use stadium with a capacity of over 16,000. More intimate concerts take place in bars, pubs, and other small venues across the town.

Another fixture of the Lorient Inter-Celtic Festival is the Celtic Village. This is a large fair in downtown Lorient that offers traditional food, souvenirs, crafts, clothing, and other merchandise.

Inter-Celtic Festival of Lorient





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