Halloween has become a highly commercialized and internationally known event, seemingly far from its beginnings in the Celtic festival, also known in Irish as Samhain. Each year the media remind us of its ancient origins, but what lies behind the present-day folklore and the partying? What exactly did it consist of in the past? What was its meaning, its symbolism and its relationship to other ancient Celtic festivals?
With renewed public interest in Celtic themes, this book accordingly offers a clear, precise introduction to the Celts’ four main festivals: Samain, Imbolc, Belteine and Lugnasad. Two of these, in November and May, included religious sacrifices and ceremonies, while August’s event was a harvest festival and February’s a purification ritual.
Françoise Le Roux and Christian-J. Guyonvarc’h were leading specialists in Celtic studies who wrote several hundred articles and numerous books which have been widely translated into other languages.
Françoise Le Roux, co-founded the Celtic Studies journal Ogam and specialized in religious history.
Christian-J. Guyonvarc’h specialized in the study of medieval Irish texts and was an honorary professor of Celtic at the University of Rennes 2.
Key Sales Points
– An indispensable guide to ancient Celtic folklore.
– The four festivals are studied here using medieval Irish
sources which, from the Middle Ages to the present day, constitute the only reliable source of documentation and interpretation.
– A precise account from leading Celtic Studies specialists.