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Slovak Celts celebrate spring

CELTIC enthusiasts in Bratislava will welcome spring the traditional Celtic way on Wednesday, January 28, at Keltská pivnica in the Slovak Pub at Obchodná 62. Organised by Keltieg, which is both a band and a civic association, the "holiday in white", or Imbolc, is one of the four major annual Celtic holidays.
Starting at 18:00, the celebration will begin with a welcoming drink, followed by traditional Irish dance and music performances. Among the performers are Irish piper Darragh Carey playing Scottish pipes and the Polish band The Reelium, who will interpret the music of the Irish, the Gaelic, and the people of Asturias.

CELTIC enthusiasts in Bratislava will welcome spring the traditional Celtic way on Wednesday, January 28, at Keltská pivnica in the Slovak Pub at Obchodná 62. Organised by Keltieg, which is both a band and a civic association, the "holiday in white", or Imbolc, is one of the four major annual Celtic holidays.

Starting at 18:00, the celebration will begin with a welcoming drink, followed by traditional Irish dance and music performances. Among the performers are Irish piper Darragh Carey playing Scottish pipes and the Polish band The Reelium, who will interpret the music of the Irish, the Gaelic, and the people of Asturias.

"Throughout the Celtic world, February 1 was known as the most important holiday of the year: Imbolc. Above all it was a celebration of the Celtic goddess Brighid, the end of winter - which is connected with the lactation of sheep - and the protection of fires," said Vladimír Šiška, a member of the Czech civic organisation Bratrstvo Keltů, which cooperates with Keltieg.

"The Celtic goddess Brighid was one of three forms of one goddess. In winter her appearance was that of an old woman - cailleach, a feared goddess connected with death as well as rebirth. Now she appears as a clean virgin goddess, symbolising the coming of spring.

"Her symbol was a protective knot, which was tied with straw and affixed above a house's entrance as a protective omen. Part of the holiday celebration included setting small fires in front of a house's entrance. It was believed that they have a symbolic power that protects the house from sleet and lightning strikes. The first tillage of the spring was also performed around this time, in the ceremonial way - ploughs were decorated with colourful ribbons, baptised with homemade alcohol, and accompanied by young girls. Symbolic gifts to gods - pieces of bread and cheese - were inserted into the tracks," Šiška explained.

Admission to the event is free. Those who come with a candle and dressed all in white will receive special awards.

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