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Irish Culture


Scotland Wales Cornwall Isle of Man Spain Brittany Ireland. Cead Mile Failte ... and to the west as far as Spain and the British Isles, around the 5th century BC. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Irish Culture

Irish Culture
The Celtic Nations
  • Alba Cymru Kernow
    Mannin Galicia Briezh
  • Scotland Wales Cornwall
    Isle of Man Spain Brittany

Cead Mile Failte (A Hundred Thousand Welcomes)
(No Transcript)
  • Ancient Celts had migrated to as far east as the
    Galatea in Asia Minor, and to the west as far as
    Spain and the British Isles, around the 5th
    century BC.
  • The empire was divided into tribal divisions.
  • Celtic tribes warred against each other
  • With spread of their migration, there was a
    spread of their language and traditions

  • 900 BC Celtic speaking people in England
  • 400 BC Celtic speaking Celts from Spain arrive
    in Ireland
  • 500 BC - Celts reach Britain
  • 400 BC - Celts Invade Italy
  • 387 BC - Celtic Gauls defeat Rome at Alia
  • 279 BC - Celts invade Greece
  • 51 BC - Caesar defeats Celts in Gaul (France)
  • 663 AD - Council of Whitby decides for Roman over
    Celtic Church

The Three Celtic Paths of Life
  • The Bardic Path World of the Sea, the Mind,
    the Past, Ancestors, Lore, Genealogy, Songs,
    Poetry, and Storytelling (History)
  • The Druid's Path - World of the Sky, the Spirits,
    the Future, the Gods and Goddesses of the tribes,
    Theology, Administration, Politics, Adjudication
  • The Seer's Path - The World of Land, the Body,
    the Present, Nature Spirits, Herbalist, Healing,
    Alchemy, Weather and Divination

  • The Druids were the Male/Female Priests of the
    Celtic people.
  • they formed an intellectual class comprising
    philosophers, judges, educators, historians,
    doctors, seers, astronomers, and astrologers.
  • The word "Druidae" is of Celtic origin meaning
    "an oak." and "knowledge"
  • The oak is a sacred tree to the Druids.

  • Druids filled the roles of judge, doctor,
    diviner, and scholar - they were the religious
    intellects of their culture.
  • To become a Druid, students assembled in large
    groups for instruction and training, for a period
    of up to twenty years.
  • capable of many supernatural powers such as
    divination prophesy, control of the weather,
    healing, levitation, and shapechanging
  • they had a clientele like a doctor
  • One Roman author, Diogenes, placed the Druids on
    a list of the ancient world's wisest
    philosophers, mathematicians and astronomers

  • Druids hold nothing more sacred than the
    mistletoe and the tree on which it grows provided
    it is an oak.
  • They choose the oak to form groves, and they do
    not perform any religious rites without its
  • Anything growing on those trees oaks they
    regard as sent from heaven and a sign that this
    tree has been chosen by the gods themselves.

  • Many Druids were women the Celtic woman enjoyed
    more freedom and rights than women in any other
    contemporary culture, including the rights to
    enter battle, and divorce her husband.

  • The 'tree' is dynamic life itself, the result of
    HEAVEN, EARTH, and WATER rooted in the earth and
    reaching toward the heavens
  • An evergreen symbolizes immortality

  • the Druids developed a calendar
  • The months correspond to the Celtic Tree
    Alphabet. For each month there was a designated
    tree. From this a 'tree calendar' wheel emerged
  • The Druidic view was that the earth was in
    darkness at its beginning, that night preceded
    day and winter preceded summer . Thus, Nov. 1
    was New Year's Day for the Celts, their year
    being divided into four major cycles.
  • The onset of each cycle was observed with
    suitable rituals that included feasting and
    sacrifice. It was called The Festival of Samhain-
    linked with Halloween.

Druid Observances
  • Druids recognize eight particular times during
    the yearly cycle
  • four are solar and four are lunar balance
    between male female power
  • At the Solstices, the Sun is revered at the point
    of its apparent death at midwinter - and of its
    maximum power at the noon of the year when the
    days are longest
  • At the Equinoxes, day and night are balanced.

Druid Stonehenge Site
Samhuinn or Samhain 1 November
  • Samhain (pronounced sow-en) meaning "Summers
    End," is celebrated on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
  • the veil between the mortal and the supernatural
    was lifted
  • Samhain is the beginning of the Celtic new year.

  • Fleadh nan Mairbh (Feast of the Dead) is the
    time the ancestors were honored and the dead were
    remembered. the Spirits of the Dead and those yet
    to be born of the clan walked freely amongst the
  • Food and entertainment were provided in their
    honor. In this way the clan remained in unity
    with its past, present and future.

  • Carving pumpkins and turnips stem from the days
    when the celts were active headhunters. They
    believed that the spirit resided in the head.
    They also believed that if they controlled the
    head of an enemy they had killed in battle, and
    displayed the head at Samhain they would be safe
    from roaming spirit
  • It was however remolded into the practice of
    carving vegetables to keep away harm intending

Lughnasadh or Festival of Light 1 August
  • Mainly concerned with harvest time
  • Traditionally, this was also the time when
    marriages were contracted.
  • There were many fairs, games and races.
  • It does in a very real way honor Thallium, who as
    a Goddess of the land, sovereignty, and is the
    Earth Mother.

  • Lughnasadh was the season of handfastings, or
    trial marriages that lasted a year and a day
  • After that time the couple had to return to the
    same place at the fair the following year to make
    their contract a permanent one.
  • They also had the right to declare themselves
    divorced by walking in opposite directions away
    from each other.

  • Great importance is attached to the bristles of
    the boar which symbolize strength.
  • Fish, salmon in particular, are associated with
  • Birds are usually used to represent prophetic
  • Horses, cattle, and pigs represent fertility.
  • The prosperity of the clan is reflected in the
    prosperity of its herds.

  • Spirits and supernatural beings also take animal
    forms to guard something. According to Celtic
    myths, each holy place generally has a spirit
    guardian in the form of an animal.
  • Each well, a spring, a river, a mound, or a
    grove often is likely to have its own spirit.
  • Water places would have a guardian in the form
    of a fish.
  • Gods from the other world can assume animal
    forms for other reasons