The world’s biggest Gaelic festival, Royal Mod, begins today.

Kicking off with an Opening Ceremony this evening, the week will incorporate an extensive programme of events featuring high-profile performances and will culminate on Saturday morning with the traditional mass gathering of the Gaelic choirs.

Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail, The Royal National Mòd, is returning to Glasgow today for the 13th time – with over 3000 participants set to take to the competition stage.

This success is attributed to the fantastic work that An Comunn Gàidhealach and the Royal National Mòd do with Feisgoil and Glasgow Language Provision Schools, helping to encourage the learning of Gaelic in the early development phase.

More than 600 sessions have been delivered so far and this has had a direct impact on the number of entrants for this year.

The nine-day spectacular of Gaelic music, arts and sport will take place in Glasgow for the first time since 1990, with a host of activities and competitions on throughout the week.

This year will welcome representatives from all over the world with the London Gaelic Choir returning to the stage after a long absence from the Royal National Mòd.

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Last year’s event generated around £2million for host location Dunoon and organisers are confident they’ll see a similar impact in Glasgow.

The festivities begin today with a joint reception being held between CalMac and the Lord Provost.

Following this, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills John Swinney will officially launch the Royal National Mòd with a speech at the Opening Ceremony, hosted by An Comunn Gaidhealach.

Mr Swinney presented the award for the Gaelic Ambassador of the Year in 2017 and will be returning once again to present the 2019 award.

The festivities will move to George Square this evening for a public celebration filled with bands and choir performances alongside drama recitals, to honor the contribution of young people to the Mòd and the Gaelic language.

Literature day, supported by the SQA, is taking place on Wednesday and is on a bigger scale than previous years with two book launches from authors Maoilios Caimbeul and Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh and the appointment of a new bard.

Since 2004 a bard has been crowned for a period of three or four years, but thanks to the success of Gaelic Literature in recent years a new bard will once again be appointed on an annual basis.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “The Royal National Mòd is a major celebration of the Gaelic language and culture with a full programme of events for those of all ages and abilities in Gaelic.”

John Morrison, Chief Executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “We are incredibly excited to be hosting the Royal National Mòd in Glasgow, returning for the first time since 1990.

“It’s been fantastic to have such a healthy number of individual entrants this year and we put this down to our continued work with Glasgow Schools, teaching Gaelic at a grassroots level.

“It is great to see the Gaelic culture and heritage thriving in Scotland, particularly in literature with this year being the first time since 2004 that a bard will be appointed annually – a testament to the growth of the Gaelic language.”

Royal Mod begins tonight at the Royal Concert Hall.