Now in its 45th year, the Breton town of Lorient
in northern France is set to once again host one of the biggest celebrations of
Celtic culture in Europe, the Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
Taking place throughout the town from August 5-14, the event
brings people together from all of the Celtic nations across the UK, France and
Spain, including those from Brittany, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of
Man, Cornwall, Galicia and Asturias.
Among the aspects of Celtic culture to be highlighted at the
festival are music, dance, theatre, sculpture, artisan crafts, painting,
photography and food and drink. The individual events are spread across a
variety of venues, from the high-capacity Parc du Moustoir to the formal Palais
As the festival celebrates a number of traditions, it too
has its own traditions, such as the ceremony which opens it, the Cotriade. The
Cotriade consists of a traditional Breton seafood supper, held at the Port du
Peche (fishing port), accompanied by entertainment including traditional Breton
music and sea shanties.
The main opening event of the festival, however, is the
Grand Parade of Celtic Nations. More than 3,500 people parade through the
streets wearing their national costumes and bringing with them traditional song
and dance. More traditional music can be heard during the festivals first
weekend at the National Bagadou Championship Finals at the Parc du Moustoir.
Here, Brittanys finest pipers and pipe bands come together to compete for
victory. If youre looking to learn how to play some Celtic music yourself,
theres even classes from some of the worlds finest pipers, fiddlers, harpists
Throughout the festival, the centre of Lorient also hosts a
huge market, the Village Celtique, where you can buy all kinds of Celtic goods including
traditional clothing, crafts, food and literature. Every afternoon you will
also be able to indulge in entertainment by hundreds of performers, spanning from
music concerts to dance displays that go well into the night. The nights climax
with the Nuits Magiques (Magic Nights), a spectacular combination of bands,
dancers, choirs and fireworks.
Spanning ten days and nights, and offering more than 120
shows, every year the festival attracts more than 800,000 visitors to Lorient,
demonstrating the sheer popularity and importance this event has with the
Celtic people. If youre looking for something a bit different offering plenty
to see and do near our French villas, you wont be disappointed with the
Festival Interceltique de Lorient.
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