Saturday, 17 March 2012
Well it was St.David's day when I started writing this, and its now St. Patrick's day so I guess those three tags are doubly valid now. I hope those who do celebrate David's Day had a good one, and those who "celebrate" St. Patrick's also have a fun evening (Drink responsibly). I personally don't really celebrate any Saint days, and no its not a anti Christianity or pro secular thing, I just don't really see much sentiment to be celebrated. I also don't like Welsh Cakes, so there's also that.
I mean David and Patrick's days are the closest to a Wales and Ireland Culture day we have, and given the centuries of cultural eradication the Celts have resisted those are important, but there's very little actual culture being celebrated beyond fancy dress and some stereotypical images of Dragons and Leprechauns.
In fact given that the days are tied to the Celtic conversions to Christianity they effectively commemorate the first systematic revision of Celtic Culture. See Celts much like well pretty much every other tribe or ethnic group had there own Cultural superstitions and philosophies, the problem was these "Morality tales" and legends often had to do with there native religions, so that mean the hero's and villains where often chosen of some deity or the actual God itself. Obviously Christianity being Monotheistic wasn't too happy about the people they were enlightening filling there heads with nonsense about false Gods and made up monsters. Fortunately though rather then just get rid of the whole thing most of the myths where edited "slightly" to make them more compatible with Christianity and the two were able to coexist.
A perfect example of this relationship is the Celtic Cross:
It is believed that the design of a cross with a circle or Halo around the cross section was made by St. Patrick (some say St. Declan) to show the local Celts how important the Cross of Christ was, the Circle is supposed to represent the Sun, so you get the impression that the Son of God gives warmth and life to the world the same way the Sun in the sky does.
Its just a shame the Symbol has been high-jacked by Far right groups, the Celtic Cross is actually banned in some countries as a result, so as pretty as it is I don't recommend getting it as a tattoo. Why the interest from "White Pride" groups? no idea, especially since modern Celtic Nations and areas tend to be Left of Centre and the greatest historical enemies of the Celts where Germanic Tribes and Romans (guess which countries have instituted the ban). Still I suppose its a step up from the Swastika as a symbol of whiteness, most Celts are certainly fairer skinned then the average Hindu or Eastern Buddhist,even though historically Celts originated around Basque Country and according to our Atlantic cousins whom happen to be skin heads Spain doesn't count as White enough, but they also display Celtic crosses on occasion, so I guess in a few decades they'll be slapping Star of David's on there banners.
Anyway Celtic history and Culture is actually very complex and interesting, I recommend the curious look up the Celtic Revolution by Simon Young or check out the Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race by T.W. Rolleston.