What is the Gymanfa Ganu?

The Welsh have two dominant characteristics, a love for religion and a love for music. These two characteristics may account, to a very large degree, for the Gymanfa Ganu( pronounced Ga-mahn-fa-Ga-nee) because it is a religious, musical service. It is expressive of the soul of the Cymry, or Welsh through the medium they love best; the music of human voices blended in harmony.


At the opening of the eighteenth century -about 1730- there began in Wales a religious and literary awakening among the peasants. The thoughts gained during the period of awakening were perpetuated in song. It was shortly after this period of religious and literary awakening that the Gymanfa Ganu evolved and had its beginning in the little Sunday Schools of Wales. Preachers and poets were writing more and more hymns in an effort to express their religious emotions and the Sunday Schools of a village of town occasionally met together to sing the hymns they all knew and also to learn new ones they did not have. These singing meetings were well liked and grew in popularity and spread until they began to take on the significance of a movement. The desire to foster the Welsh language and eagerness for elementary education contributed greatly to the growth of the Gymanfa Ganu. Every village and town in Wales contributed its quota to the general advance, The Gymanfa Ganu’s were becoming increasing popular during the 1840’s during the increasing Welsh emigration to America and this custom of part singing hymns was brought along as part of the Welsh tradition.

How we celebrate at Gomer Congregational Church

This Welsh Singing Festival is held every year on the first Sunday of October at Gomer Congregational Church. A guest director is invited to lead the singing. Participants are asked where they have come from for the event. Over the years, this has ranged from as near as Gomer and Venedocia to as for as California and even Wales. The 106 th Gymanfa was held on October 1, 2023.

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