Celtic Cultural Minute

The Many Uses of the Autumn Apple

Oct 25, 2017

When you think of Halloween, you may think of pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn…but apples?  Well, apples were a symbol of Halloween long before American pumpkins. Halloween as we know it is rooted in the ancient Celtic traditions surrounding Samhain, a fire festival that marked the end of the harvest and beginning of winter in the Celtic countries of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, etc.

The History of the Tartan

Sep 20, 2017

The tartan has gained international popularity with people selecting and sporting a design of his or her fancy.

Travelers to Scotland over the past several hundred years have noted the Tartan worn by its inhabitants. These records refer to it as ‘mottled’, ‘marled’ and ‘sundrie colored’, but perhaps the best description comes from the Gaelic word breacan, meaning chequered.

The Making of Haggis

Sep 7, 2017

Ah, Haggis…Great chieftain o' the puddin' race, and much misunderstood! - Robbie Burns

Haggis is a traditional Scottish dish, considered by many to be the national dish of Scotland thanks to Robert Burns' 1787 poem “Ode to a Haggis”.

Highland Games Sports, Dancing, and Music

Sep 7, 2017

Highland Games are a colorful, unique mix of sports, culture and community, a celebration not only of all things Celtic, but especially of Scottish Highlands’ heritage and history.

The Games are a mix of of field and track events, piping, and Highland dance competitions, as well as 'heavy events' like the tug-o-war, the hammer throw, and the caber-toss.  Some say that the Games date back to 2000 BC in Ireland, before they crossed the water to Scotland with the fourth and fifth century migrations of the Scotti into Argyll and beyond.

The Legacy of Dylan Thomas

Sep 7, 2017

Find out about the brilliant, talented, and charismatic poet, Dylan Thomas. Learn about the legacy of one of the most celebrated writers and poets of the 20th century.

“A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Welsh poet Dylan Thomas, is one the most beloved of Christmas traditions, and yet it was almost lost to us, rescued only by serendipity, luck and two plucky American women.

Celtic Traditional Dances

Sep 7, 2017

Learn about Scottish traditional dance, in all of its many forms.

It’s September, and that means that Bethlehem’s Celtic Classic is only a few weeks away.  We’ll spend September learning a wee bit more about some of what you’ll find at the Festival.

Naturally, there’ll be lots of glorious music…but there’ll be dancing, as well, much of it Scottish traditional dance, in all its many forms.

Scottish Kilt History

Sep 7, 2017

My heart's in the Highlands, my heart is not here,
My heart's in the Highlands, a-chasing the deer;
A-chasing the wild deer, and following the roe,
My heart's in the Highlands, wherever I go

-- Robert Burns

Among the most powerful, romantic and dramatic of all the symbols of Scotland are the Highlanders tartans and kilt.  Today a kilt is often elegantly paired with formal jackets, crisp white shirts, and intricate footwear.

Ireland's Tricolour Flag

Sep 7, 2017

The national flag of Ireland is frequently referred to as the Irish tri-color. Beginning at the flag post, the colors are green, white, and orange. The Irish government has described the symbolism behind each color. Green represents the Gaelic tradition of Ireland, orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland, and white representing the aspiration for peace between them.

Behind the Flag of Scotland

Sep 6, 2017

Learn about the story behind the flag of Scotland. Find out about the symbolism behind the white cross and blue background.

Some listeners of the weekly edition to Celtic Faire may know that the researcher of the topics is very proud of her Irish heritage; however to bring awareness to the fullness of all nations celebrated by the Celtic Cultural Alliance today’s spot features information about the flags of Scotland. We’ll be covering flags of other Celtic nations in subsequent podcasts.

The Life of the Great Poet Robbie Burns

Sep 5, 2017

The great poet Robbie Burns was born on January 25, 1759, in a small farmhouse on the wild and windy coast of Ayrshire, Scotland.  The child of self-educated tenant farmers, he spent his youth working long days on the families’ hardscrabble farms, then reading and dreaming by candlelight far into the long nights.  He would die at only 37 years old, succumbing to rheumatic fever, and leaving behind many a lass’s broken heart.