Dec 31, 2011

Hogmanay

Hogmanay fireworks.JPG
Photo by Katy MacDougall of Hogmanay Fireworks in Edinburgh
Hogmanay is the name of the Scottish New Year's celebration and it's huge. Check out the page for Edinburgh's events. There is even a live stream link so you can peek in on the action. Music, torchlight parade, dancing, concerts...the Scots know how to party!

So clean the ashes from your fireplace, clear out all your debts, and after midnight be sure to sing Robert Burns's Auld Lang Syne.

Welcome 2012!

Links to my previous posts on Hogmanay:
Happy New Year!
Merry Hogmanay or Happy New Year!
Auld Lang Syne

Dec 27, 2011

When Do You Count the 12 Days of Christmas?

Three Wise Men
photo by Kate Elliot
From Wikipedia: The traditions of the Twelve Days of Christmas have been largely forgotten in the United States, where the public generally tends to equate the Christmas season with the Christmas shopping season and its attendant commercial marketing campaigns. Contributing factors include the popularity of stories by Charles Dickens in nineteenth-century America (with their emphasis on generous gift-giving), introduction of more secular traditions over the past two centuries (such as the American Santa Claus), and the rise in popularity of New Year's Eve parties. The first day of Christmas actually terminates the Christmas marketing season for merchants, as shown by the number of "after-Christmas sales" that launch on 26 December. Widespread experience with the commercial calendar has encouraged a popular (but erroneous) assumption among consumers that the Twelve Days must end on Christmas Day and must therefore begin on 14 December.


Does anyone (in the US) pay any attention to Epiphany anymore?

When do you take your decorations down? Here is a web site with some suggestions.

Me? Usually New Years or right after. But not for any specific reason. In the US that's probably kind of late. I'd love to hear from people in other countries.

Dec 21, 2011

From the Songwriter

I came across this original song posted on YouTube. It's just beautiful. I've posted the words to the song below the video. I could not find the songwriter's name, but here is a link to her YouTube page. Enjoy and Merry Christmas!



As I went out walking in the snow
Under cold and silver moonlight
I thought I heard an angel's voice
Singing, "Silent, holy night."
But the song was not from an angel choir
Nor from the moonlit sky.
It was nearer than my beating heart
And softer than a sigh
And softer than a sigh

As I went out walking in the greenwood
On a grey and cloudy day
I listened for the voice again
To hear what it might say
And then again a song I heard
As I paused to hold my breath
But the song I heard was an ancient dirge
Its story told of death
Its story told of death.

As I went out walking on city streets
All tempest tossed with care
Above the sound of the busy town
I heard the sweetest air.
I heard the bells with their tale to tell
Of a child in a manger laid
Who through His birth brought peace to earth
And by His death would save
And by His death would save.

The bells rang out for all to hear
Still the anxious crowd hurried by
Those who listened well could hear the bells
And the story they did cry.
But none lingered long to hear the song
Oh, there was only I
To hear the sound of my beating heart
That was softer than a sigh
It was softer than a sigh.

Dec 12, 2011

From My Research...

At the turn of the century a woman named Maud Humphrey created artwork that was extremely popular. Some of it appeared on calendars, advertisements, children's books, and greeting cards. You can see why people loved her work.

She was a modern American woman of the times, active in the suffragist movement and a working wife.
She even kept her maiden name. 
Her son was Humphrey Bogart.

I couldn't make a Celtic connection, but this came up while I researching the time period of my novels and I wanted to share.

Dec 5, 2011

5 Reasons to Read My Blog

BLOG IDEAS1. I haven't given away the Celtic ornament yet.

2. You like miscellaneous Celtic-interest/history posts that appear approximately three times a week. Hopefully, with some Irish luck and Divine inspiration.

3. You are waiting to hear when my next book releases. (Okay, not a good reason. It's not until early 2013, but I might write something interesting here in the meantime, hopefully...see reason #2.)

4. You want some links to other sites of Celtic interest.

5. The biggest reason to keep reading Celtic Voices is...............drumroll..............a reason that only you know, but hopefully will tell me in the comments section!
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But seriously, here's something you might be interested in:

According to Celtic Britain and Ireland, The Myth of the Dark Ages, by Lloyd & Jennifer Laing, Irish Academic Press, 1990, the study of the early Irish Christians did not begin in earnest until the 18th century. When you consider that St. Patrick came to Ireland near the turn of the 5th century, much historical data was probably lost. That's why I found the early Christian period a fascinating time in which to set fiction. It's history told orally and through folktales.

In the early 19th century, Ireland's primary historian was Sir George Petrie, who was also a painter. He made some historical drawings that have preserved some of Ireland's history for us today. Austin Cooper also made drawings that preserved some of Ireland's history. I blogged about Cooper here.

In their book, the Laings say: "It is not improbable that the considerable upsurge of interest in Early Christian Ireland in the mid-nineteenth century was the outcome of two trends--a growing national feeling and an interest in medieval antiquities..."

For whatever reason, much of what we know of Irish history comes out of that time and the work of Victorian-era historians. That's probably too broad of a statement. Archeology is bringing more to light all the time and some of what the old histories tell us has to be reexamined. But I'm always reminding myself that just because an old book says it, doesn't necessarily make it true. Even the belief that the Irish today are descended from the Celts is being questioned. (That's a whole other topic!)

History is not set in stone, so it seems. That's what makes the study so interesting, in my opinion. What do you think?