Online Encyclopedia

BELTINE BELTENE BELTANE

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V03, Page 712 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: del.icio.us del.icio.us it!

BELTINE BELTENE

BELTANE  , Or BEAL-TENE (Scottish Gaelic, bealltain), the
See also:
Celtic name for May-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 Ireland, the 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 "beltane fires," is believed to represent the Druidical worship of the sun-
See also:
god . The fuel was piled on a hill-top, and at the 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 bit became cailleach bealtine (the beltane carline)—a
See also:
term of
See also:
great reproach . He was pelted with egg-shells, and afterwards for some weeks was spoken of as dead . In the 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 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 proverb, " he is between two beltane fires." The Strathspey Highlanders used to make a hoop of rowan wood through which on beltane day they drove the sheep and
See also:
lambs both at 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 a

combination 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 identification of the beltane fires with the worship of this deity . This etymology is now repudiated by scientific philologists, and the New
See also:
English
See also:
Dictionary accepts Dr Whitley Stokes's view that beltane in its Gaelic form can have no connexion with teine, fire . Beltane, as the 1st of May, was in 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 John Ramsay, Scotland and Scotsmen in the 18th Century, from
See also:
MSS. edited by A . Allardyce (1888) ; and see further J . Robertson in Sinclair's Statistical Account of Scotland, xi . 620; Thomas 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 .

167 (Folklore

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'Donovan and Stokes (1862) .

End of Article: BELTINE BELTENE BELTANE
[back]
THOMAS BELT (1832-1878)
[next]
BELUGA (Delphinapterus leucas)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.