Page 50 - St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017
P. 50

Story of the Celts
Symbols of Ireland
The word Celt {kelt} originates from the Greek work keltoi, meaning “secret people.” The earliest groups of people historically referred to as Celts date back to the Iron Age, and were composed of several Central-European tribal cultures that spoke a similar language. This ancient language was the predecessor to what eventually would become the Gaelic languages. Toward the later part of the Iron Age, these tribes had expanded over a wide area; as far west as Ireland and the Iberian Peninsula, as far east as Galatia, and as far north as Scotland.
By modern definitions, there are 7 Celtic Nations, and they are: Ireland, Scotland, Wales Cornwall, Isle of Man, Brittany (northwest France) and Galicia (a region of Spain).
Celtic Knots
Celtic knots date back to the 5th century and were used extensively by
ancient monks in the illuminated manuscripts such as the Book of Kells
and Book of Durrow. The Celts did not record the meanings behind
the designs they created but scholarly speculation is that the symbols represented basic tenants of life, mankind, and spirituality.
The continual looping of the designs suggests themes of eternity and interconnectedness. Interwoven figures of people and animals may have represented the interdependent nature of life. Two or more knots laced together symbolize lovers, hunters and their prey, God and man, and so on. Some ancient Celtic symbols have changed in meaning over time, having been influenced by the introduction of Christianity and the influence of other cultures.
A general rule of thumb is that the shape of the design often determines the meaning of the knot. Circles represent eternity or the eternal cycle of life, death and rebirth. Triangles and trefoils represent the threefold dominion of earth, sea, and sky. Squares or four-sided shapes are shield knots, symbols of protection from spirits. Interlaced animals and men represent relationships or emphasize the interdependence of mankind and nature.
Celtic Tree of Life
If you have ever watched a movie that had trees of magic, with secret doorways that lead to mysterious places, the origin of those ideas can be credited to the Celtic people. Trees were a very large part of the Celts’ spiritual and daily lives. Celts regarded trees as their source of food, protection from the elements, provider of materials to build shelters, and a source of warmth when making fires with its wood.

   48   49   50   51   52