[Namron] Dumb question about Beltane/Beltain

Matthias the Brewer matthiasthebrewer at cox.net
Sun Apr 22 16:31:49 PDT 2007

Did anyone figure out what the Baron’s answer was?



From: namron-bounces at ansteorra.org [mailto:namron-bounces at ansteorra.org] On
Behalf Of Donnchadh Beag mac Griogair
Sent: Sunday, April 22, 2007 4:26 PM
To: Barony of Namron Mailing List
Subject: Re: [Namron] Dumb question about Beltane/Beltain


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. 


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
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Irish>  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
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Irish>  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
<http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Early_Irish&action=edit> , thus
the Gaulish deity names Belenos <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belenos>
('bright one') and Belisama <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/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

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