The Maine Celtic Celebration is almost upon us and being new to this mid-coast area, I must admit I had no clue what the fuss was all about. So I did a little research which first involved checking out the information provided by the local Belfast Chamber of Commerce (of course to which we belong — being steadfast members of the business community). I will share the fruits of this research: and I quote: “The Belfast Celtic Celebration is a three-day, family oriented celebration of the rich Celtic heritage, culture and hospitality found along the Coast of Maine. No admission to the shows or workshops will be charged and visitors are free to donate what they feel the event is worth. Even though this is a celebration of Celtic culture, the town welcomes all people of all backgrounds to attend. Belfast, ME and the surrounding area was founded and built by the Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Cornwall and Brittany. John Miller named Belfast after his hometown after he won a flip of the coin.” I heard that had the toss gone the other way, Belfast would today be known as Londonderry. (But don’t quote me on that one).
Now, we are left with what is Celtic? Anyone can search Google, but if you just want to read the following you can skip the search.
The historical Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in Iron Age Europe. By the later Iron Age , Celts had expanded over a wide range of lands: as far west as Ireland and Spain, as far east as Turkey, and as far north as Scotland. My impression is that present day Celts seem to be mostly into Irish stuff.
From Wikipedia (sidebar: as a political science professor, I forbid my students to use this site, bad karma), we find that the Celtic Revival, of which the Belfast Celtic Celebration is a part, “covers a variety of movements and trends in the 19th and 20th centuries and continuing on in the 21st, which drew on Celtic art and traditions. Although the revival was complex and multifaceted, its best known incarnation is probably the Irish Literary Revival where Irish writers including William Butler Yeats and others stimulated a new appreciation of traditional irish literature and poetry.”
I hope this bit of “erudition” entices you to visit Belfast and the Celtic Celebration. As for me, I am going to see our Chamber President Jim O’Connor wearing a skirt!