Hello, my Friend! Nannie here!
Finney loves to talk about the Seasons! He speaks of them, however, as we know them now…Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. He loves watching the quieting of the Earth’s growing during the wintertime…and especially loooves Christmastime!
But when Winter eases away and Spring begins to announce itself, Finney is very excited about the “life” that seems to begin again as grass gets greener and new little plants begin to show themselves!
And when Summer blasts upon the scene with growth and budding and blooming and springtime newborns getting used to their legs…why it is just so exhilarating…
And, then, of course, when Summer simmers down and harvest time comes and leaves start to change, Finney knows that time’s coming to cozy up by the hearth and celebrate the fruits of the Earth and thank God for it all! Knowing that Christmas is not far away…again…the cycle of Seasons just keeps going…
Again we go to http://www.libraryireland.com to learn from Dr. Patrick Joyce, an Irish historian who lived in the late nineteenth century to the early part of the twentieth century. Dr. Joyce tells us in his A Smaller Social History of Ancient Ireland 1906 that “The Irish divided their year into quarters…
Earrach (sounds like arragh), SPRING…began on the 1st day of February
Samhradh (sounds like sowra), SUMMER…began on the 1st day May
Foghmhar (sounds like fowar), FALL…began on the 1st day of August
Geimhridh (sounds like gevre), WINTER…began on the 1st day of November.”
Dr. Joyce tells us that “We have historical testimony that festivals with games…were celebrated at the beginning of Summer, Autumn (Fall), and Winter; but we have no account of any such celebrations at the beginning Spring.”
“The 1st of February, the beginning of Spring, was called Oimelc, signifying ‘ ewe-milk,’ for that is the time when sheep’s milk comes…It is now known as ‘St. Brigit’s festival.’ …The 1st of May, the beginning of Summer, was called “Belltaine or Beltene (sounds like beltina)…still always used by speakers of Irish.”
“The 1st of August, the beginning of Autumn, was, and is still, called Lugnasad (sounds like Loonasa).” This day is named for the “Dedannan King Lug (sounds like loo) of the Long Arms…The 1st of November, the beginning of Winter, was called Samain or Samhuin (sounds like sowin).”
Finally, Dr. Joyce tells us that “The ancient Irish counted time rather by nights than by days. Thus in the Life of St. Fechin we are told: – ‘Moses was forty nights on Mount Sinai without drink, without food.’ In coupling together day and night they always put the night first: in other words, the night belonging to any particular day was the night preceding; so that what they called Sunday night was the same as Saturday night with us.”
It’s a nice bonus that Dr. Joyce often gives us pronunciations of the Irish words that would certainly be hard for any of us who have not had the blessing of hearing Irish spoken in our homes. My Dad (David of Cobh, Co. Cork) never learned Irish as a boy in Ireland because it was during the time that it was not allowed. He was born in 1904, and was baptized in the grand St. Colman’s Cathedral! The following three pictures are St. Colman’s Cathedral overlooking the grand harbor…My Dad, David (feeding the birds as they come to his hand!), and the resting place of my Family in the Old Church Cemetery in Cobh (sounds like Cove).
In regards to pronunciations of Irish words, a wonderful website is www.talkirish.com. So many fun Irish words are presented with an audio provision…also used in a sentence. This is a fun way to learn some Irish!
It won’t be long now and Spring – Earrach will be in the air!
God bless you and thank you for stopping by to visit Finney and Me!
2 thoughts on “87. Nannie’s Fun Facts! (19)”
This is so interesting! I’m fascinated that their seasons all started a month and a half before ours; also the “ewe milk” thing was cool. Thanks too for the web site with the pronunciations!
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I know it is an understatement to say so much is different now than ancient times…but I can’t help but feel that if we knew better some of the reasons why things were done in the ways they were…perhaps we might prefer them that way if we had a choice! Just so interesting to think about…thank goodness for these old writin’s!