[Namron] Dumb question about Beltane/Beltain

Donnchadh Beag mac Griogair donnchadh at cornelius.norman.ok.us
Sun Apr 22 14:25:32 PDT 2007

Isobel de Kirkbryde wrote:
> Does anyone know which is the correct spelling?  Yes, I know in 
> medieval times that spelling accuracy was optional.  However, I am 
> wanting to put a link on the Skorragardr website to the 
> Beltane/Beltain games website and want to know which spelling to use.
> Thanks,
> Lady Isobel de Kirkbryde
> Guild Head of the Guild of St. Camillus de Lellis, Kingdom of Ansteorra
> V-Scribe Canton of Skorragardr
> Member of Clann Lochlan
> Member of Clann Haddock
> Member of House MOO
Beltane is how I've always known it, and that is how it is spelled on 
the Namron website and the Kingdom Calendar.  I just realized that in 
the event announcement it is spelled in the old Irish form of Beltain.  
Although both are correct spellings, I would say to just stick with the 
Beltane spelling so the websites match.

For you language junkies, here's the etymology of the word:


/Beltane/ has a complex etymology and a resultant variety of different 

The word /Beltane/ derives directly from the Old Irish 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Irish> /Beltain/, which later evolved 
into the Modern Irish <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_language> 
/Bealtaine/. In Scottish Gaelic 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Gaelic> it is spelled 
/Bealltainn/.^[9] <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beltane#_note-SMO> Both 
are from Old Irish <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Irish> /Beltene/ 
('bright fire') from /belo-te(p)niâ/. Beltane was formerly spelled 
'Bealtuinn' in Scottish Gaelic; in Manx it is spelt 'Boaltinn' or 'Boaldyn'.

In Modern Irish, /Oíche Bealtaine/ is May Eve, and /Lá Bealtaine/ is May 
Day. /Mí na Bealtaine/, or simply /Bealtaine/ is the name of the month 
of May.

In the word /belo-te(p)niâ/) the element /belo-/ is cognate with the 
English word /bale/ (as in 'bale-fire'), the Anglo-Saxon 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Saxon_language> /bael/, and also the 
Lithuanian <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithuanian_language> /baltas/, 
meaning 'white' or 'shining' and from which the Baltic Sea 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baltic_Sea> takes its name.

In Gaelic <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goidelic_languages> the terminal 
vowel /-o/ (from /Belo/) was dropped, as shown by numerous other 
transformations from early or Proto-Celtic to Early Irish 
thus the Gaulish deity names Belenos 
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belenos> ('bright one') and Belisama 

 From the same Proto-Celtic <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proto-Celtic> 
roots we get a wide range of other words: the verb /beothaich/, from 
Early Celtic /belo-thaich/ ('to kindle, light, revive, or re-animate'); 
/baos/, from /baelos/ ('shining'); /beòlach/ ('ashes with hot embers') 
from /beò///belo/ + /luathach/, ('shiny-ashes' or 'live-ashes'). 
Similarly /boil///boile/ ('fiery madness'), through Irish /buile/ and 
Early Irish /baile///boillsg/ ('gleam'), and /bolg-s-cio-/, related to 
Latin <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latin> /fulgeo/ ('shine'), and 
English 'effulgent'.

Hmm, maybe we should go with the old Scottish Gaelic spelling of 
Bealtuinn and really mess with people... Nah, just kidding.

Baron Donnchadh

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.ansteorra.org/pipermail/namron-ansteorra.org/attachments/20070422/48464e6f/attachment.htm 

More information about the Namron mailing list