[From Manx Quarterly #6, 1909]
[A.W. Moore paper read at a meeting of the London Manx Society, April 22nd.]
The year of the Celts in every part of the United Kingdom began in November, and November, February, May, and August were the first months of Winter, Spring. Summer, and Autumn respectively. (a) The object of this paper is to that this year, called the November-May, or May-November Year, from its two most important months, existed in Man also.
It is probable, however, that in Northern countries, during primitive times, two seasons only Summer and Winter were recognised, the great Winter Feast being early in November, and the great Summer Feast early in May. Such a division of the year would suffice for a pastoral epoch, when the chief question of interest was the presence or absence of pasture, as there would be no good grass before May or after October. When tillage, with its sowing and consequent reaping, came into vogue, two more divisions of the year became desirable. These were Spring, or the sowing or ploughing time, and Autumn, or the Harrvest time. Spring and Autumn bisect the other two seasons, beginning early in February and early in August respectively. We shall see later that there were important feasts at these dates also. The Celtic year was a solar, not a thermometrical year. Its Winter did not correspond with the period of greatest cold (December, January, and February), or its Summer with that of the greatest heat (June, July, and August).
What would appeal to people who had no means of artificial illumination would not be temperature, to which they were probably not at all sensitive, but light. When daylight was absent they were miserable and afraid; in its presence they very happy and unafraid. It is not, then, to be wondered at that the sun was the chief object of their adoration. Of all the phenomena which are visible to man, it is at once the most, awful, beneficent, and mysterious. It is the source not only of light, but of warmth, and, when it departs, darkness and cold follow. The worship of the sun was a very widely extended cult, a cult of which we have remains, even at the present day, in the ceremonial observances of at least six festivals in the year. Two of these are the great mid-summer and mid-winter feasts, which are probably of Scandinavian origin; the other four, which we propose to consider now, are, with equal probability, of Celtic origin. They occur at the beginning of each of the four seasons to which we have referred. According to Cormac, Archbishop of Cashel in the tenth century, they were " the four great festivals of the Druids," when "four great fires were lighted up."(b) These fires, which we call bonfires, were no doubt originally connected with sun-worship. Primitive man evidently imagined that by their means he could influence or charm the sun into providing him with a due amount of sunshine for his own welfare and that of his animals and crops; and it would seem also that, since the flames of the fires mimicked the sunshine, they promoted fertility, because, as we shall see later, only those crops were supposed to flourish which were in sight of a bonfire. In more recent times, however, these ideas were supplanted by the notion that the bonfires were efficacious in driving away fairies, witches, and all evil influences.
Let us now discuss each of the four seasons separately, beginning with Winter.
We propose to demonstrate that the Winter began with November; that that month was also the first month of the year, and that our Celtic ancestors kept one of their great festivals at tire beginning of it. A sufficient proof that November began the year is its old Manx name, viz.: Yn chied ree jeh'n. Geurey, which mean "the first month of the Winter." As regards its being the first month of the year, there are five distinct proofs: (1) On the night of the eleventh of November (c) a hundred years ago, it was the practice for boys to go about the country singing a doggerel rhyme, the first line of which was "Hogannaa ; this is New Year's Night" (d), i.e., the night before New Year's Day. It is, by the way, a curious fact that the eves of festivals were frequently considered of more importance than the actual festival days. This eve is called Oie Houiney, Touin's Eve," in Manx, and the following day is known as Touin, or Yn Tauin, corresponding to the Irish and Scottish Samhain and the English All Hallow-mass or Hollantide. This last name is now its usual appellation in the Isle of Man also. (2) There still obtains a tradition. among old Manx people that it is the first day of the year. (3) It was the custom to predict the nature of the weather for the ensuing year from the weather on the 12th of November, i.e., if the 12th was a fine day, so would be the year, and vice-versa. (4) Two superstitious observances now practised on New Year's Eve were, within living memory, practised on the 11th of November. The first of these was to rake the ashes out of the fire before going to bed, and to spread them smoothly on the hearth, in the hope of finding the track of a foot the next morning; should the toes of this foot turn to the door, it is believed that a member of the family will die in the course of the ensuing year, but should the heel point in that direction, it is believed that the family will be augmented within the same period; and the second was to fill a thimble with salt and to upset it on a plate, one thimble for everyone in the house. The plate was then carefully put away, and was examined on the following morning; if by that time any one of the little heaps of salt had fallen, then the person whom it represented would die during the year. We may here mention three other observances, which took place on the 11th of November only. These were the burning of nuts on the fire-bars, the pouring of molten lead into water, and the baking of the soddag valloo. The first two are to be found everywhere in these Islands; but the last is, we believe, peculiar to the Isle of Man. We will, therefore, describe it in detail. The soddag valloo, or "dumb cake," which was made of flour, eggs, and suet, was eaten on this occasion only. According to Kelly, writing a hundred years ago, every woman is obliged to assist in mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough, and baking the cake on the glowing embers; and when it is sufficiently baked, they divide it, eat it up, and retire to their beds backwards without speaking a word, from which silence the cake derives its name; and in the course of the night they expect to see the image of the men who are destined to be their husbands." (e) It will be seen that all these observances, as well as that connected with the prediction of the weather, are for purposes of divination, practice which was undoubtedly in vogue on the eve of a New Year. (5) The twelfth of November is still the general day for letting lands, for payment of land rents, and for new servants taking their places for the year. (f) These servants are hired at a fair held on the eleventh of October (Michaelmas) (g) at Kirk Michael all the occurrences named would naturally take place at the beginning of a year which was essentially a farmers' year.
The following facts in connection with this period are also worth noting, as being in favour of our two contentions. About one month after the 12th of November, on the 6th and 11th days of December, in the South and North of the Island respectively, possession was formerly taken of lands, rented, from the 12th of November. In our Statute Book, under date 1422, an ordinance relating to the provisioning of Castles of Peel and Rushen fixes the period of Winter as being from "All allow Day to Easter," and in the same book. under date 1656, farmers are directed to keep their lands fenced till "All Hallow Day."
Our third point, that Sauin was also a at Celtic festival, can also be easily made clear. There can be little doubt but that the chief object of this festival was to propitiate the powers of evil which were supposed to be at their zenith at this season. The reason, says Professor Rhys, why this night (Oie Houiney) came to be regarded as the saturnalia of all the hideous and uncanny elements in the world of spirits "was because it has been fixed upon as the time of all others when the Sun-god, whose power had been gradually falling off . . . , succumbed to his enemies, the powers of darkness and Winter. It was their first hour of triumph after an interval of subjection, and the popular imagination pictured them stalking abroad with more than ordinary insolence and aggressiveness." (h)
Let us see, then, what the methods of propitiation were. First of all, there was the lighting of fires on the hill-tops. We already referred to the primitive idea about bonfires in relation to the sun. If beneficent deities such as the sun could be propitiated by them, so could the malignant deities. Moreover, when we bear in mind that bonfires were at one time connected with human sacrifices, their propitiatory value becomes even more evident. The sacrificial idea is also embodied in another line of the ballad already quoted, which relates to the slaying of a calf at this time. To propitiate the fairies, who were of a semi-human nature, being sometimes kindly and sometimes malevolent, quite different methods were adopted; these methods being that on this eve no one would remove the remains of the supper of which the family had partaken, and that "crocks" of fresh water were placed on the table, so that the fairies might eat and drink.
Six months later we see the reverse of the shield. In November the powers of darkness had gained the ascendancy, but in May the powers of light were triumphant.
May is called Yn shied ree jeh'n Tourey, "The first month of Summer," also Boaldyn, the meaning of which is uncertain. (i) May-Day is named Laa-Boaldyn and its eve Oie Voaldyn.
This was a time for the people to propitiate the sun and the gods of vegetation, so that the fertility of their crops might be promoted. Fire was the chief agency for such a purpose. Bonfires were till recently lit on all the hills, and a hundred years ago it was also the practice for a fire to be kindled on every balls, or farm, so that the wind might blow the smoke over the fields, houses, and cattle. (j) We should note, too, that cattle were driven between or over fires, and that men and boys leaped over the flames. Another significant fact in relation to the object of these fires is that they were occasionally used for sacrificial purposes, there being evidence that lambs have been burned on May-Day Eve, or on May-Day, son ourol, " for a sacrifice," within living memory. The minor powers, the warlocks and fairies, and all their tribe, were also as active and malevolent on this eve as on the 11th of November. But they were much less feared when the days were long and sunny than when they were short and gloomy, and the comparatively modern idea of using fire as an agency for driving them out rather than for propitiating them came into vogue. This is shown by the following extract from the " Mona's Herald " newspaper in May, 1837: " On May Day Eve the people of the Isle of Man have from time immemorial burned all the gorse bushes in the Island, conceiving that they thereby burned all the witches and fairies, which they believe take refuge in them at sunset."
But at this season fire was only one of the agencies for dealing with them. Nature herself came to the rescue, providing green leaves, boughs, and primroses to be strewn on the thresholds, branches of the cuirn, or mountain ash, then in bloom, which were made into small r
crosses without the aid of a knife, to be fastened on the doors of the dwelling houses, and flowers of the Bollan feaill-Eoin, " John's feast wort," to be placed in the cow-houses. We should not, however, fail to note that this use of vegetation, though more recently connected with the subjection of the fairies and their like, was probably originally intended to propitiate the gods of vegetation. The main object, in fact, of all these observances was the promotion of the fertility of the crops. This object, then, having been gained on May Eve, the consequent victory of the powers of light over the powers of darkness, and of Summer over Winter, was on May-Day typified and celebrated by the following most interesting ceremony of the election of the May Queen, which we give in the words of an Englishman, Waldron, who resided in the Isle of Man nearly two hundred years ago:
In almost, all the great parishes they choose from among the daugh ters of the most wealthy farmers a young maid for the Queen of the May. She is dressed in the gayest and best manner they can, and is attended by about twenty others, who are called maids of honour; she has also a young man, who is her captain, and has under his command a great
number of inferior officers. In opposition to her is the Queen of Winter, who is a man dressed in woman's clothes, with woolen hoods. fur tippets, and loaded with the warmest and heaviest habits one upon another; in the same manner are those who represent her attendants dressed; nor is she without a captain and troop for her defence. Both being equipped as proper emblems of t he beauty of the spring and the deformity of winter, they set forth from their respective quarters, the one preceded by violins and flutes, the other with the rough music of tongs and cleavers. Both companies march till they meet on a common, and then their trains engage in a mock battle. If the Queen of Winter's forces get the better, so far as to take the Queen of May prisoner, she is ransomed for as much as pays the, expenses of the day. After the ceremony Winter and her company retire and divert themselves in a barn, and the others remain on the green, where, having danced a considerable time, they conclude the evening with a feast. (k)
The procession of the Summer, which was subsequently composed of little girls, outlived that of its rival, Winter. This procession went from door to door, enquiring if the inmates would buy the Queen's favour, which was composed of a small piece of ribbon, but this, too, has long fallen into disuse.
The importance of May-Day (the 12th of May) to our ancestors is also shown by it still being the general day for letting houses, paying house rents, taking lands for grazing cattle, and for farm girls going to their places. (l)
We now come to the consideration of the two minor, and probably more recent, festivals, those of Spring and Autumn.
The Spring festival, when it was especially desirable to propitiate the gods of vegetation, was celebrated early in February. "Mee s'jerree jeh'n Geurey, "The last month of the Winter" (January), had passed away, and Yn chied vee jeh'n arragh, "The first month of the ploughing," as the old Manx people called February, had come in. In a Northern clime there would be but faint traces of rising vegetation at that period, but the days had become considerably longer, a fact which our ancestors duly celebrated at this season by various ceremonies which appear not only to commemorate the advent of Spring, but to have at least some faint connection with fire-worship.
On the first of February, "Laa'l Breeshey," " Bridget's Feast Day," it was an old custom in the Isle of Man to gather rushes, and, standing with them on the threshold, to invite St. Bridget to come and lodge there that night, saying Brede, Brede, tar gys my th.ie, tar dys thie ayms noght. l'oshil jee yn dorrys da Brede, as Hag da Brede cheet stiagh. "Bridget, Bridget, come to my house, come to my house to-night. Open the door to Bridget, and let Bridget come in." After these words had been repeated, the rushes were strewn on the floor by way of a carpet or bed for Bridget. In some of the Western Isles of Scotland, which were long and closely connected with Man, the following similar custom obtained: " The mistress and servants of each family take a sheaf of oats and dress it up in woman's apparel, put it in a largo basket and lay a wooden club by it, and this they call Briid's bed, and then the mistress and servants cry three times, ` Briid is come, Briid is welcome.' This they do just ore going to bed, and when they rise the morning they look among the ashes, expecting to see the impression of Briid's club there, which, if they do, they reckon a true presage of a good crop and a prosperous year; and the contrary they take it as an ill omen." (m)
On the second day of February there is another feast of the Church in which the connection with fire is more strongly marked. This is " The Purification of the Virgin Mary;" generally known as Candlemas from it having been the custom to light large numbers of candles that day in the churches. It is called "Laa'l Moirrey ny Gianle, "Mary's Feastday of the Candle," in the Isle of Man. There was a Pagan ceremony in Rome at this time of the year, upon which the Christian festival was probably engrafted, and it is notable that the portions of the candles which were not consumed in the churches on this day were kept, because they were deemed to possess strong supernatural virtues, as the old rhyme says:
Awondrous force and might
Doth in these candles lie, which if
At any time they light,
May sure believe that neither storm
Nor tempest doth abide,
Nor thunder in the skies be heard,
N or any devil's spide (sic),
Nor fearful sprites that walk by night,
Nor harts of frost or hail. (n)
For ceremonies practised at this time of the year, which are most markedly connected with fire, we have to go to :Germany.. Frazer, in his "Golden Bough" (o), gives instances of such ceremonies, which now take place either on Shrove Tuesday or on the first Sunday in Lent, but which were probably originally celebrated at the beginning of February. One of the most interesting of these is the burning of an effigy called Death which evidently represents the departed Winter. A similar effigy is called "The Old Wife," or Winter's Grandmother."
In many parts of England, too, according to Perry, writing in 1770, it was the custom to light up fires on the hills (p) on the third of February.
Our fourth season begins with August, Yn chied vee jeh'n ouyr, "The first month of the harvest." Its great festival, which took place on the 12th of that month, is called Laa Luanys, or Laa Lunys, " Luanys's Day."
This name was probably originally associated with the Celtic god Lug, or Leu, as he is called in Wales, who, since he is said to have been brought up at the Court of Manannan, the mythical King of Man, must have been closely connected with this Island. In Ireland, his festival, called the Lugnassad, or Wedding of Lug, was celebrated by a fair, at which games and sports took place. There was a similar fair in Man within living memory. On this day, too, or, more recently, on the first Sunday in August, as we lehrn from the Manx Ecclesiastical Records, in 1732, there was " a wicked and superstitious custom, which is yearly continued and practised by many young people (and some of riper years), going to the top of Snaefell mountain, where they behave themselves very rudely and indecently for the greater part of that day." This custom, which was extended to the other mountains also, continued to be quite common up to 70 years ago, and cannot be said to be quite extinct even now.
Here, again, we have a festival which was most distinctly connected with sun-worship. It was also the custom on this day to visit the sacred wells, which are very numerous. Some of these wells were greatly esteemed for the sanative quality of their waters, while the water of others had a special virtue as a charm against the fairies and witchcraft. It was customary for the devotees to drop a small coin into the well, drink of the water, repeat a prayer in which they mentioned their ailments, and finally to decorate it, or the tree overhanging it, with flowers and other votive offerings, usually a piece of one of their garments. They believed that, when the flowers withered, or the fragment of their garments rotted, their ailments would be cured. These rites, which varied somewhat at the different wells, have been practised within the memory of those still living.
We have, we think, been successful in showing that three of the great festivals named by Cormac have survived almost to our own time, and that there is at least some indication of the fourth, that of February.
This is all the more remarkable when we bear in mind the constant efforts of the Church to obliterate the memory of all heathen festivals. Of sun and fire worship in particular the Church was a deadly enemy. Several of the early synods vainly tried to put it down. But the Church's most efficacious method of dealing with these Pagan festivals was to place festivals of its own on the same dates. The general result of this was to cause the primitive ideas at least of such festivals to be obscured, but at the same time to give the Church festivals the accompaniment of numerous superstitious rites and practices. Thus the Pagan feast of the Winter solstice, which was called Saturnalia by the Romans, and Yule by the Scandinavian nations, was superseded by Christmas. We all know how many superstitious practices are still in vogue at that season. Again, the Midsummer feast, probably originally in honour of Balder, the Northern sun god, has been turned to pious uses under the name of St. John the Baptist, and yet the mid-summer bonfires still continue to blaze.
Coming to the four festivals with which we are specially dealing, we find that the November Sauin is now "All Hallow Mass," or "All Saints' Mass" (Middle English halewe, " a saint"), though it is probable that, as this feast was not instituted till the, beginning of the seventh century, the first Christian feast placed at that time was that of St. Martin. Martinmas was once a very popular festival. It is said that in County Leitrim it is still the custom to kill some animal in his honour, though as as a rule nothing more valuable than a. hen or a duck. (q) Here we have the remains of some sacrificial custom which originally was certainly not connected with St. Martin. It is perhaps worth noting that Martinmas was formerly the period at which cattle were killed and salted for consumption in the Winter, there being, in the absence of turnips, insufficient food far them till the Spring.
For Easter, at Martlemas hang up a beefe,
With that and the like, yer (ere) grasse beefe come in,
My folk shall look cheerely when others look thin. Tusser.
It is interesting, too, to note that the men servants' hiring day (October 11th), on which there were perhaps some Pagan celebrations, has been dedicated to St. Michael; that the day on which possession was taken of lands in the South of the Island, on December 6th, is now dedicated to St. Catherine, and that the same event on the North of the Island, which takes place on the 11th of December, is named after St. Andrew. The second of these dates was also the day of a Pagan sacrificial feast, all remembrance of which has not yet departed, as within living memory the following distich was repeated on that day:
Kiark Catreeney marroo,
Gow's y kione.
As goyms ny cassyn.
As ver mayd ee fo'n thalloo.
Catherine's hen is dead,
Take thou the head,
And I will take the feet,
And we will put her under ground.
Anyone attending the fair held on that day, who took too much to drink, was said to have "plucked a feather of the hen." Coming to the first of February feast, it should be observed that the dedication of this day to St. Bridget, best beloved of Celtic saints, was undoubtedly a subtle move. It may not, perhaps, be too hazardous a conjecture that the use of ashes in the superstitious ceremony was afterwards utilised by the Church as a striking part of the Ash-Wednesday services. The Christian feast of Candlemas, on the 2nd, afforded some substitute at least for the bonfires, and a still more ingenious substitution was the dedication to St. Blazeus of bonfire day, the 3rd of the month. " How well this answered," says Sir Norman Lockyer, "is shown by the following quotation from Percy : (r) 'The anniversary of St. Blazeus is the 3rd of February, when it is still the custom in many parts of England to light up fires on the hills on St. Blayse Night a custom antiently taken up perhaps for no better reason than the jingling resemblance of his name to the word "blaze."
Owing to the movable nature of Easter, no important Christian festival can be permanently placed on the same date as at of the May-Day celebration. But it is probable that the Church devoted its attention to encouraging the innocuous parts of the ceremonies in vogue at this time and to discouraging those of an opposite character. It certainly seems to have succeeded in so doing. With the great festival, that of Laa Luanys, the Church was equally successful. This festival became Lammas, "Loaf or Bread Mass." a feast of thanksgiving for the first fruits of the corn harvest, and the Manx customs of visiting the wells and of going to the tops of the highest hills on the 12th of August were given a semi-religious character by the date of their observance being transferred to the first Sunday in August.
It is, then, undisputable that, notwithstanding the influences of time and of a bitterly hostile and powerful Church, the Celtic November-May Year, with its four great festivals, stands out unmistakably in the light thrown upon it by Manx folklore. (t)
But yet another proof of the existence the November-May Year is afforded by the greater prevalence of fairs during the months of November and May than at any other time during the year. it will be remembered, were only not only occasions for periodical markets, but for religious games. Cicero tells us that, as early as the age of Pythagoras, large numbers of people attended them for both these purposes. Of like character were also the fairs of Tailtin. Cruachan, and Carman in Ireland. (u)
So also at the Midsummer festival at Thingvalla, in Iceland, which lasted a fortnight, there took place not only the giving of laws and the administration of justice but religious observances, and feasting and merry-makings, sports and competitions, such as horse-racing, football, hurling, and recitations of legends and traditions. Our Tynwald in the Isle of Man, where the fair, as well as the promulgation of laws, survives to the present day, was probably an exact parallel to the Icelandic festival. Even more significant are the Welsh Gorsedds. " Though," says Mr Griffith, " the name May Year is a very happy one ... it is really the Gorsedd year ... the Gorsedd and the popular fair are one and the same." (v) In relation to the fairs, the Church pursued its usual policy. Most of the important fairs became associated with Church festivals, and the Pagan games were converted into religious services. To such an extent was this the case that the German name for fair, mersen, has actually come to mean the most solemn part of a Church service. In the Isle of Man in particular so persistent were these Pagan rites, that in the very chapel by Tynwald Hill, on the day of the Midsummer Court and fair, the people, as late as 1636, were found by the Bishop "in the practice of gross superstitions," which he caused " to be cried down." (w) Would that the excellent ecclesiastic had informed us what these " gross superstitions" were!
With the increase of population, the growth of towns and consequently of shops, and the improvements in the methods of communication, fairs have, in Western Europe at least, ceased to be of importance.
In the Isle of Man at the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were no less than fifty-two fairs, a number which has now dwindled to thirty-four, and at many of them the attendances are very scanty. Tlheso fairs were divided between the months as follows: May, 11; June and November, 6 each; March, 5 ; August and December, 4 each; January, February, April, and July, 3 each; and September and October, 2 each. It will be observed that May easily heads the list and that November and June come next. But in connection with the position of June, we must bear in mind that it is a pleasanter time for fairs than November, and that it has been the practice during the last 150 years to reduce the number of Winter fairs.
Finally, to completely prove our thesis, we bring science to confirm the evidence of folk-lore and custom. In a recent book on " Stonehenge and other British Stone Monuments," Sir Norman Lockyer demonstrates that the orientation of the alignments of the megalithic monuments to sunrise and sunset was arranged in order to fix the different seasons of the year. (x). He then proceeds to show that most of these monuments are oriented with the object of marking dates, which are, roughly speaking, half-way between the solstices and the equinoxes, i.e., approximately, February 4th, May 6th, August 8th, and November 8th, the dates indicating the November-May Year. (y)
I believe that the members of your society, whatever they may think of my theories, will have no difficulty in agreeing that, from a practical point of view, our ancestors' arrangement of the seasons is much superior to ours. (z.)
To begin with, our Winter is partly in one year and partly in another. We have, therefore, to resort to the very awkward expedient of, for instance, describing the Winter which has just passed as that of 1908-9, whereas they would have called it the Winter of 1909. Strictly speaking, Winter should be the name applied to the period when Nature is, to all appearance, dead; and it is certain that, before the introduction of foreign flowers, such as chrysanthemums, there were no flowers in our latitude between the 1st of November and the 1st of February. Our present Winter, on the other hand, contains a month February during the passage of which some humble flowers at least show their heads. With our ancestors, then, the year and the Winter began together. (y) Then their Spring February, March, April is actually the time of the awaking of Nature and of ploughing and sowing, whereas ours ircludes May, a month displaying the rapid growth and the plenteous bloom, which are features characteristic of Summer. Finally, their Autumn August, September, and October is the exact period in our latitude of ripening, harvest, and decay.
The idea here indicated that we are not, perhaps, in all respects wiser than our ancestors may not be without its value.
(a) The same division of the year obtained in ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome, but it began in May instead of November. Summer, it must be remembered is the dominant factor in the South of Europe, and Winter in the North.
(b) Vallancy, in Hazlitt's Dictionary of Faiths and Folklore, under Gule of August.
(c) i.e. On the 31st of October new style, but kept according to the old styie.
(d) This line has of late years taken the form of "Hop-tu-Naa; this is old Hollantide Night," the Manx portion of which is meaningless. See Kelly's Manx Dictionary, p.24 (Manx Society's Publications, Vol. XIII).
(e) Manx Dictionary (Vol. XIII, Manx Society's Publications), p. 14.
(f) In the Manx Calendar Act of 1753 it is provided that such matters as letting and taking possession of lands, houses etc. should remain according to the old stale.
(g) 29th September, new style.
(h) Rhys, Hibbert Lectures (1886) pp. 516 17.
(i) The name Beltain in Irish, which is equivalent to the Manx Boaldyn, is said by Curmac in his Glossary to have arisen "from two fires which the Druids of Erin used to make with great incantations." According to Jamieson (Scottish Dictionary), "the Gaelic and Irish word Bealtine or Beiltins signifies Bel's fire; as composed of Baal or Belis, one of the names of the sun in Gaelic, and tein, signifying fire." As a matter of fact, however, this is all pure guess-work, no one having given a satisfactory derivation of the name.
(j) Kelly's Manx, Dictionary, p. 15 (Manx Society's Publications, Vol. XIII).
(k) Manx Society's Publications, Vol. XI., pp. 48-49.
(l) These girls were hired at a fair on the 6th April (old Lady-day)
(m) Martin, Western Isles p 119.
(n) Barnaby Googe's translation of Naogeorgus. From Ellis's Edition of Brand's Popular Antiquities.
(o) Vol. II. pp. 247-51.
(p) Notes to Northumberland Household Book, P. 133 1 quoted from Stonehenge, by Sir Norman Lockyer, p. 184
(q) Folklore, Vol. VII , pp. 178-9.
(r) Stonehenge, p. 184.
(e) Notes to Northumberland Household Book, 1770, p. 33
(t) For fuller details of the Folklore given, see The Folklore of the Isle of Man by A. W. Moore (London, D. Nutt 1891).
(u) Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, pp 410-11.
(v) For a very interresting treatment of the question of the May year in connection with fairs, see Nature of September, 1907 pp. 477-81, by the Rev. John Griffith.
(w) Ecclesiastical Records.
(x) Our megalithic monuments in the Isle of Man have not yet been surveyed with this object in view.
(y) It must be remembered, of course, that our less remote ancestors, prior to 1752, began their year on the 25th March.
(z) This paper was read at a meeting of the London Manx Society, April 22nd.