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Re: Celtic months (was: Some suggestions)
On Wed, 27 Jan 1999, Raymond A. Brown wrote:
> >> Apr Giblean (April) an Giblean
> Gilbean doesn't look much like 'Aprilis' ! Wonder what the etymology
> actually is.
Several of the names were not given etymologies. The entry simply had the
Gaelic and the English equivalent.
> >> Jul Iuchar (the dog days) m. deireannach an t-S.
> Doesn't look much 'cu' (dog) - again I wonder what the etymology was.
I couldn't figure this one out. One can only assume that somehow the
English expression "dog days (of summer)" got applied in this instance. I
don't see anything there for 'dog' neither for 'day'. In other words, the
two don't seem to be etymologically connected; though I find it odd that
this should be given as the explanation for Iuchar.
> >> Aug Luùnastl (Lug's festival/wedding) c. m. an Fhoghair
> Yes, the 1st August is Lammas - "Loaf-mass". In Saxon times the first
> fruits of the harvest were offered to God on this day. IIRC it was a
> Christianizing of an earlier pagan festival to the god Lug.
Sounds likely enough.
> I got the seasonal references. Certainly the old Roman calendar began in
> Spring with 'March', before Caesar formally changed it to the new moon
> following the winter solstice in IIRC 44 BC - hence our modern New Year
> (used for less than 300 years in England - until 1752 New Year's day was
> March 25th here!).
Same for the Colonies. Hence continual misunderstanding and debates over
when things happened, spurred by which calendar to use.
> Do we know whether all Celts began their year in Spring? Or did some
> choose the Autumn (like the Jewish calendar) and others mid-summer or
> mid-winter? Certainly among the Greeks, there seems to have been
> considerable variation.
I have been under the impression that they generally had the new year in
the Fall. Of course, there are so many tribes and no central governmental
authorities; so this could simply be a generalisation from one or two
remains. One might be tempted to argue for some kind of general unity, if
it's true about the large scale unity of the druidic system (or whatever
term might be appropriate). If the keepers of wisdom had a sort of guild
or union (and international communication links), then uniformity of
calendars, measures, etc. might be possible.
> >May mi na Bealtaine (bright fire)
> >Jun an Meitheamh (could this be connected with middle?)
> I'd expect -dh- not -th- if that were so.
I ought to have said that this list of Irish forms is one I'd copied (by
hand) from somewhere many years ago. It may well contain an Error here
and there. May the defense plead scribal error?
> >Dec mi na Nollag (Nowel)
> And 'Nollag' of course is ultimately from Latin 'Na:ta:lic- ' :)
Funny how that shows up everywhere!
> >> Legal Kernu 'Cutios' (April) might be cognate with Céiteann (May) and
> >If Ceiteann means 'head of summer', then no, as head was pennos (Pensamos,
> >perhaps). Cutios is left unrevealled.
> But 'ceud' in Gaelic is 1st, not head. 'Ceiteann' might be 1st (of summer) ?
oops. Unfortunately, I don't believe there were any helpfull words before
or after Cutios in the glossary that might shed light on its meaning;
though they (cuti- and ceud) do look temptingly similar. I'll look into