Celtic Cultural Minute

Thursday, 8pm

A weekly feature aired during WDIY's Celtic Faire every Thursday.

The Potato

Aug 28, 2013

It is one of the strangest twists of fate that Ireland will forever be associated with the potato, an alien vegetable that was adopted as a staple food within fifty years after it was introduced to the land. This humble vegetable was eventually to become a great influence in the course of Ireland's history.

Today, we share a few Celtic Wedding traditions. The feast was one of the most important aspects of a Celtic wedding. Unlike today where the ceremony and reception are viewed separately, traditional Celtic weddings incorporated everything into one big ceremony. The families and friends of both the bride and groom were there along with members of the community. The Celtic bride was very important. The term bride is Celtic in origin and refers to Brigid (or Bríd) , an exalted goddess of Celtic lore. The veil is a very old tradition. Before the bride is veiled she is a maiden.


Aug 28, 2013

If you have ever heard of the word Lughnasa, you are either a student of ancient Celtic customs, a fan of Tony award-winning Broadway plays, or a devoted member of an ancient Celtic worship community. The average person has probably never even heard the word Lughnasa, even in Ireland where in modern Gaelic it is often called Lúnasa, meaning the month of August.

The flag of Ireland – And Thomas Meager

The national flag of Ireland is frequently referred to as the Irish tricolor.  Beginning at the flag post, the colors are green, white, and orange.

The Irish government has described the symbolism behind each color. Green representing the Gaelic tradition of Ireland, orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland, and white representing the aspiration for peace between them.


Jul 11, 2013

Just when you thought we had enough patriotic celebrations, there’s a different patriotic celebration that happens in Northern Ireland one week after our own. The Twelfth (also called The Glorious Twelfth or Orangemen's Day) is the annual Protestant celebration held on the 12th of July. Originating in Ireland during the 18th century, it celebrates the 1688 Revolution and victory of Protestant king William of Orange over Catholic king James II at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.

The Declaration of Independence is a document on which we find evidence of Irish contribution to the founding of the United States.

Among the citizens who signed what could have been a death warrant, were at least nine Irish Americans, a few of them born in Ireland.


Jun 26, 2013

On a recent evening walk, I saw the first flicker of summer fireflies. With only my canine companion, I remembered a childhood wonder. The memory stirred thoughts about Celtic fairies.

Today, when we think of fairies, we often think of them as tiny, supernatural beings with wings; glowing with uncommon light. They also possess magical powers, like Tinkerbell in the story of Peter Pan or the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella. The modern fairies, as in most myth related culture, come from oral tradition.


May 8, 2013

In honor of the upcoming Mother’s Day; I’m going to share some information about a particularly ancient symbol. Sheela na gigs are figurative carvings of naked women found on churches, castles, and other buildings, particularly in Ireland and Great Britain.

Such carvings are said to ward off death and evil, like other grotesques, such as gargoyles and were frequently part of church decorations all over Europe. It is commonly said that their purpose was to keep evil spirits away. They often are positioned over doors or windows, presumably to protect these openings.


May 3, 2013

Beltane is one of the four ancient Gaelic seasonal festivals. The others are Samhain (November 1), Imbolc  (February 1), and Lughnasadh (August 1).

Ceili Dancing

Apr 26, 2013

Ceili dances were enjoyed at house parties and corner road gatherings in the rural country sides. Decades later, they are still danced in Ireland and have moved to the United States – and even here in the Lehigh Valley. These traditional country folk dances have a follow the leader pattern that new dancers can pickup on their first attempt.  At any ceili, the dance caller will teach the basic 3's, 7's, jig step, and ceili swing steps at the start of the event.  After the basic steps are covered, a dance pattern is walked through slowly at first.