The traditional Celtic year commences in the Summertime: mids Samon -from the earliest Indo-European: *samo- summer: Irish Samhradh - season of Summer; EI. Samrad- summer.
At the cross-quarter of May, the Celtic summer commences, set at the start of May on the Roman calender
The traditional Celtic year - summer followed by winter: Samhradh - Summer from May to November mids Samon the first month of the Gaulish calendar - 'the Summer month' mís cétamuin:cetsoman .i. cetsámsin .i. cétlúd síne samraid - Beltaine/May in Cormac's Glossary Geimhreadh - Winter from November to May mids Giamon the seventh month of the Gaulish calendar - 'the Winter month' mí Gam:gam quasi gamos isin greic, nouimber .i. in mí gaim iar samuin - Samhain/November in Cormac's Glossary
Samon: 'summer' from the stem *samo- 'summer', Cym Haf, OW ham, OI sam, OI cetsoman (May), Samhradh (the Season of Summer) Giamon: 'winter' from the stem *giamo- 'winter', Cym Gaeaf, OW gaem, I mí Gam (November), Geimhreadh (the season of Winter)
In Australia and the southern lands, the seasons are offset by half a solar year.
The commencement of winter in Australia... The Southern Seasons Celtic Year The 'southern Giamon' moon: the first lunation of the winter half of the year. The Celtic winter commences in May the southern latitudes, the half of the year described in the homelands as mí Gam, with the meaning of 'month of Winter'.
Teine Geimhreadh Deas
The Southern Fire Feast for Winter is held on the Eve of May
This is the South's Winter cross-quarter, often called 'Southern Samhain' because it is the seasonal equivalent to the Samhain, the Fire Feast of November in the Celtic homelands:
Celebrate the Winter half of the year in Winter in the Grove
"Son of the king in midsummer, The greenwoods girl gave him a gift"
Caer Australis presents an exploration and celebration of traditions born in the Heroic age and recorded for centuries since throughout the Celtic world.
We celebrate The Celtic Fire Feasts, and present an in depth investigation on the origins and workings of The Celtic Calendar, showing that the great two-fold division of the Celtic year opens at Samon in Samhradh the summer, and followed six months later by Giamon in Geimhreadh the winter, such that Beltaine marks the start of the tradtional Celtic year. Follow the remarkable cultural continuity that links the sweep of northwest Europe, in which Cétemain, that is cét-sam-sin, continued the traditional Celtic month of Samon into the Julian calendar of Ireland and names the season it heads, that is, Samrad: the summer.
Caer Australis is based in Coogee in the eastern beaches of Sydney, NSW Australia. From the The Southern Seasons we look at Australian perspectives of the Celtic Feasts and Calendar, and from our list of Australian Celtic Links are connections to Australian Celtic societies and clubs, musicians and artists, and websites for Australian Celtic cultural festivals.
We celebrate Celtic song and poetry in The Grove, and mythology and thoughts on The Gorsedd. We present an ancient history using ancient sources and presenting a Celtic perspective from the time of Brennus to that of Boudicca in Conquest, and explore to meet King Arthur in The Arthur Project.
Today Celtic people abound all over the globe, and bring with them the knowledge that throughout its history, the Celtic culture has expressed through its deities, myths and languages a most powerful ideal - the Celtic hero - who has met the challenges of the ages, full of tragedy mixed with unyielding hope. The modern Celtic homelands are secure and increasingly independent, the languages flourish, and a desire to know what once was is driving forward the impetus for what is yet to be.
To understand the past so that we may meet the future with knowledge and wisdom is a worthy challenge, and it is worth seeking with honesty, passion and integrity. Since 1995 Caer Australis has enjoined with others in this challenge in our celebration Celtic traditions and our reasoned analyses of some popular modern ideas.
In exploring the song, myths and history of the Celts, we join those who strive to find the magic and meaning of the powerful literature of an enduring culture.
For a view of what's happening in our part of the woods, visit The Beast, the premier monthly magazine for the beaches and bays of Sydney's east. The Beast takes a look at everything going on in the local area, with news and interviews, and a variety of articles from light-hearted prose to hard-hitting opinion pieces. You can also subscribe to The Beast's weekly email blast! We do!!!
"Roman lust has gone so far that not our very persons, nor even age or virginity, are left unpolluted. But heaven is on the side of a righteous vengeance; a legion of Romans which dared to fight has perished; they will not sustain even the din nor less our charge and our blows. If you weigh well the strength of the armies, and the causes of the war, you will see that in this battle you must conquer or die!" - Boadicca (Tacitus, Annals, 14.35).
Australian Celtic & Folk Festival websites
St Patrick's Day Parade March Sydney CBD
National Folk Festival April Canberra, ACT
Bundanoon Highland Gathering April Bundanoon, NSW
Australian Celtic Festival May Glen Innes, NSW
Berry Celtic Festival May Berry, NSW
Kernewek Lowender May Yorke Pen., SA
National Celtic Festival June Portarlington, Vic
Kilmore Celtic Festival June Kilmore, Vic
Abbey Medieval Festival July Redcliffe, Qld
Balaklava Eisteddfod July Balaklava, SA
Kapunda Celtic Festival September Kapunda, SA
Nanga Music Festival October Dwellingup, WA
Fleurieu Folk Festival October Wilunga, SA
Beechworth Celtic Festival November Beechworth, Vic
Scottish Highland Gathering November Castle Hill, NSW
Celtica Festival December Port Adelaide, SA
Celts in Australia
Australian Celts celebrate their role in the multi-cultural nation this country has strived to become, highlighting their distinctiveness within the general 'Anglo-Celtic' description of Australia's population base, and their special relationship with the earliest European settlers in these lands. Further, Australian Celts celebrate their cultural heritage which has very much influenced the development of this nation.
The festival websites linked above are featured expressions of Celtic values, emphasising the joy of music and dance accompanied by markets, marches and ceremony.
In the Australian Sites in our Celtic links section are to be found connections to websites of artists, musicians, clubs and societies dedicated to the furtherance of specific Irish, Welsh, Highland and Cornish traditions. Gathering a broad spectrum of members, the societies celebrate their place in Australia in their individual ways. Celtic musicians thrive in their entertainment and revelry, touring the festivals, pubs and gatherings across the land.
For those who mark the passage of time by celebrating the traditional Celtic Fire feasts, the seasons in Australia present a dilemma because they are off-set by six months compared to the Celtic homelands of Europe. In the Southern Seasons Celtic Year in our Fire Feasts section is a presentation addressing this, together with links to websites in Australia that mark the festivals of Beltaine, Lughnasa, Samhain and Imbolg.
The Southern Hemisphere
Australia and the Southern Lands experience the seasons off-set half a year to the Celtic homelands. Celebrating the Fire feasts with the progress of the southern seasons presents a dilemma, for at Beltaine on May eve, the southern seasons are turning to the winter; at Samhain on November eve, the southern seasons are at the time of rebirth at the start of summer. Southern hemisphere
Summer: Teine Samhradh Deas
'Southern Beltaine', the Fire Feast for Summer, is held on the Eve of November.
This is the seasonal equivalent to Cétemain, the 'first weather movement of Summer', the Fire Feast of May in the Celtic homelands.
And they named him Gwri Golden-hair
Summer has come, healthy and free,
Green bursts out on every herb!
High Summer: Teine Grian Deas
'Southern Lughnasa', the High Summer Feast, is held on the Eve of February
This is the seasonal equivalent to the Lughnasadh, the high summer games, the Fire Feast of August in the Celtic homelands.
He is the Ioldhanach!
Son of the king in midsummer greenwoods
A girl there gave him thornbush fruit
Winter: Teine Geimhreadh Deas
'Southern Samhain', the Fire Feast for Winter, is held on the Eve of May
This is the seasonal equivalent to Shamhna, the time of prophesy and assembly, the Fire Feast of November in the Celtic homelands.
And he made his way to Eas Ruaidh
Winter has come, summer is gone.
Low the sun and short his course
Spring: Teine Earrach Deas
'Southern Oimelc', the Fire Feast for Spring, is held on the Eve of August
This is the seasonal equivalent to the Féil Brighde, the Fire Feast of February in the Celtic homelands.
Four white trefoils sprang up wherever she went
Go on your knees, open your eyes,
Let Brigit in! She is welcome!
Content Guide to Caer Australis
"Grows an oak upon a steep,
The sanctuary of a fair lord;
If I speak not falsely,
Lleu will come into my lap" - Gwydion, Mabinogi of Math ap Mathonwy
Caer Australis presents...
As adjuncts to the main Caer Australis site, where the focus is on Celtic culture, are two historical websites -
The Arthur Project, which presents an introduction to the Arthurian legends and the historical endevours to penetrate the Dark Age of Britain; an overview of the stories and Arthurian romances; and the power of the legend today.
Conquest of the Celts, which presents a comprehensively referenced and documented account of the ancient world of the Celts from the earliest of historical times. Events through four and a half centuries of are examined, the conflict with the emergent Roman Republic and later the Empire. From Brennus, through to Vercingetorix, Cunobelinus and Boudicca, this is the rich history of the Heroic Age of the Celts.
"Samrad didiu ríad reites grian, is and is mo doatne a soillsi; Cetsoman .i. cetsámsin .i. cétlúd síne samraid; Gam quasi gamos isin greic, nouimber .i. in mí gaim iar samuin" - Sanas Cormaic (9th century)
"Now when at intervals of thirty years the star of Cronus, which they call 'Night-watchman', enters the sign of the Bull, they, having spent a long time in preparation for the sacrifice, choose by lot a sufficient number of envoys, while those who have served the god together for thirty years return home" - Plutarch (De Facie, AD75).