"The Celts counted the days as starting at sun down and
longer periods as 'x'(a number)-nights, and months were moons. This still hangs
over into present use with two weeks expressed as a fortnight (fourteen nights,
or half a moon). Up until Georgian times a week was expressed as a sennight
(seven nights). Festivals were on the nearest moon, new or full depending on
the festival. The length of the moon cycle is 28 and a bit days. This gives
12 moons in a normal Solar year. Every 21 years there are 13 moons in the year
and this is called a Great Lunar Year. The last one was 1993 so the next is
The Celtic year was divided into four main parts based on the
farming cycle, starting the New Year with the festival of SAMHAIN,
when the world starts to darken into winter. The veil between the human world
and the world of the dead becomes very thin. This gives you the opportunity
to invite your ancestors over the veil to join in the feast. The following day
in the calendar has no name, this is to stop the spirits from being trapped
in our world, and to make the journey back over the veil much easier. The modern
date for this is 31 October, and goes a long way to explaining the depiction
of the ghosts and ghouls at Halloween (All Hallows Eve). The Christian church
was unable to stop this festival, so they tacked on All Souls Day, and All Saints
Day, to try to counter the effects following Halloween.
The end of winter and the start of the awakening of the world
is marked by IMBOLC, which translated from the
Celtic languages is 'the lactation of the ewes'. The birth of the first lamb
means that there is once again fresh milk available, and the proof of new life
returning. The modern date for this is 2 February, which in the Christian calendar
The most lively festival of all is BELTAIN,
the first day of summer. It was marked by the appearance of the first May blossom.
A time of partnerships and fertility. New couples would proclaim their love
for each other on this day. Writings from the puritanical elements during the
English civil war show the festival was alive and well in the 17th century.
We have quotes such as- "Couples would go into the woods at night and ne'er
a third returned undefiled!"
Animals were transferred from winter to summer pastures, and were driven between the Beltain fires to cleanse them of evil spirits.
In the present however, the festival has been high-jacked by the left wing of politics and May 1st was declared a national holiday in many countries. (The Christians have no equivalent date at this time of year!)
The last major festival is the bringing in of the harvest, starting
on the feast of LUGNASA. The festival lasts for
a whole moon and was a celebration of the Gods providing all that was needed.
The Culmination of the festival is Harvest Home. This is the last load coming
in from the fields, and the capturing of the goddess of the cereal. The hang-over
from this is the making of a 'corn dolly', originally in the shape of a woman.
This was the home of the goddess over the winter and was put back into the ground
in the first furrow of the plough in the spring.
Mixed through the middle of the farming year is the Solar year
with the Solstices and Equinoxes. Although these dates are associated more with
the Druids - and that is a whole subject on its own.
The festival of Oester is for the Spring Goddess. It is celebrated on the first full moon after the spring equinox ( which is at 01:45 am, 21 March), the date of the festival this year being 31 March, at 22:50 pm. Times are GMT.
The Spring Goddess is represented by the hare, because of the mating rituals, and the egg, symbol for new life.
The Christians took the festival and put it on the next Sunday. The name has corrupted to Easter, and the hare has given way to the rabbit! - But - eggs are still exchanged, continuing the old custom."
White Roebuck , Reduction
(Recognition-a self portrait), and Celtic