See also:Celtic name for May-
See also:day, on which also was held a festival called by the same name, originally
See also:common to all the Celtic peoples, of which traces still linger in
See also:Ireland, the
See also:Highlands of Scotland and
See also:Brittany . This festival, the most important ceremony of which in later centuries was the
See also:lighting of the bonfires known as "
See also:beltane fires," is believed to represent the Druidical worship of the
See also:god . The fuel was piled on a
See also:hill-top, and at the
See also:fire the beltane cake was cooked . This was divided into pieces corresponding to the number of those
See also:present, and one piece was blackened with
See also:charcoal . For these pieces lots were
See also:drawn, and be who had the misfortune to get the black
See also:bit became cailleach bealtine (the beltane carline)—a
See also:term of
See also:great reproach . He was pelted with
See also:egg-shells, and afterwards for some
See also:weeks was spoken of as dead . In the
See also:north-east of Scotland beltane fires were still kindled in the latter
See also:half of the 18th century . There were many superstitions connecting them with the belief in
See also:witchcraft . According to Cormac archbishop of
See also:Cashel about the
See also:year . 908, who furnishes in his glossary the earliest
See also:notice of beltane, it was customary to
See also:light two fires close together, and between these both men and
See also:cattle were driven, under the belief that
See also:health was thereby promoted and disease warded off . (See Transactions of the Irish Academy, xiv. pp . 100, 122, 123.) The Highlanders have a
See also:proverb, " he is between two beltane fires." The Strathspey Highlanders used to make a hoop of rowan
See also:wood through which on beltane day they drove the
See also:sheep and
See also:lambs both at
See also:dawn and sunset .
As to the derivation of the word beltane there is considerable obscurity . Following Cormac, it has been usual to regard it as representing acombination of the name of the god
See also:Bel or
See also:Baal or Bil with the Celtic teine, fire . And on this etymology theories have been erected of the connexion of the Semitic Baal with Celtic
See also:mythology, and the
See also:identification of the beltane fires with the worship of this deity . This etymology is now repudiated by scientific philologists, and the New
See also:Dictionary accepts Dr Whitley Stokes's view that beltane in its Gaelic
See also:form can have no connexion with teine, fire . Beltane, as the 1st of May, was in
See also:ancient Scotland one of the four quarter days, the others being Hallowmas, Candlemas, and Lammas . For a full description of the beltane celebration in the Highlands of Scotland during the 18th century, see
See also:Ramsay, Scotland and Scotsmen in the 18th Century, from
See also:MSS. edited by A . Allardyce (1888) ; and see further J .
See also:Robertson in Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, xi . 620;
See also:Pennant, Tour in Scotland (1769–1770) ; \V . Gregor, " Notes on Beltane Cakes,"
See also:Folklore, vi . (1895), p . 2; and " Notes on the Folklore of the North-East of Scotland," p .
See also:Soc. vii . 1881) ; A . Bertrand, La Religion
See also:des Gaulois (1897) ; Jamieson, Scottish Dictionary (1808) . Cormac's Glossary has been edited by O'
See also:Donovan and Stokes (1862) .
THOMAS BELT (1832-1878)
BELUGA (Delphinapterus leucas)
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