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Knowledge, Words

Are You Irish? Or Celtic?…And What’s the Difference?

The word Celtic has a much bigger connotation than a person from Ireland. There are people with Celtic heritage all over the world. So if your family came from Ireland…yes, you are a Celt. But if you’re from western France? Or northern Portugal? Yep, you may be Celtic!

And Scotland, Wales, and England?  Definitely.  There are six areas of Europe that are known as the Celtic Nations: Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man.These places have a distinct Celtic heritage, which shows up in their language, their music, their native dress, and their philosophy.

The Celtic entity dates back to the Bronze age.  It was a cultural branch of the Indo-European family. They were a fierce, proud people.  Warriors every one, if you asked Julius Caesar, who tried to conquer them in 51 B.C. Remember those Gauls he was trying to kill off?  They were actually the Celts of France. But they did survive, along with their traditions.

Certainly, the warrior class in ancient Celtic society was the aristocracy.  The middle class were the intellectuals: Druids, poets (bards) and jurists.  The lower class was made up of the laborers. .The Celtic religious beliefs were basically an earth-centered spirituality which today we call paganism. In fact, the word pagan is thought to have originally been used to describe the natives in these regions. Symbols have great meaning to them.  Much of their artwork included spirals, lacework, and triskeles, a group of three.

And then, around the  5th century A.D. here comes this English monk, named Patrick, who also tried to “conquer” the Celts, by converting them to Christianity. He used various methods, such as the clover. Since it had 3 leaves, he supposedly used it to show the Trinity, which translated well since Celts incorporated triads into their religion also. And those Snakes Patrick was said to have driven out of Ireland?  Those “snakes” were the pagans.

So why does St. Patrick’s Day and the Irish culture get such a huge celebration today, other than say, Swedish, or Greek? Well, those Irish, you know they had a diaspora a while back and now they’re everywhere. They intermingled with all the other immigrants, so nowadays, if you scratch a person with European bloodlines, you’ll probably find a little bit of Celt in there somewhere.

I myself am Irish, Scottish, and German. But I consider myself to be mostly Celtic.How about you?

About ejgresearch

As soon as I retired I hit the road. I am now a nomad traveling the USA in a minivan. This blog is my travelogue / journal about those travels.


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