Just how does one say it – Keltic or Celtic? Do you pronounce the latter as if it started with a soft 'c' or an s? Or is Celtic with the first c pronounced hard like ak? To add more confusion if you do a search on Google with the word spelled as 'Keltic' you get quite a listing.
In New England, the Boston Celtics (soft c) have been a dominating force in professional basketball for many years, so it is always pronounced 'seltics' for Celtics and the singular celtic, would be pronounced like 'seltic'. However, if you travel to the British Isles, most assuredly the word would be pronounced with the 'k' sound or Keltic for Celtic.
In any case, the Celtics were an ancient people going back several thousand years in Europe. They wandered from some where near present-day Turkey and over time crossed the continent with many occupying the British Isles. Ireland could probably be termed the capital of the Celts.
When Christianity spread across Europe around the year 400,
the Irish Kelts embraced it, but kept a touch of their pagan past. If you look at the Celtic Cross – which is a cross with a circle crossing its four arms – you see an example of this merging of the two faiths. This merging came back to haunt them in the 1800's, when they were persecuted for their modified form of 'Catholicism' and coupled with a potato famine the 'diaspora' occurs. This is a spreading of the Celtic people to Australia and other English speaking countries especially the United States. It has been estimated that in the 1850 US census about 50% of the population was Irish. From that and the fact that the Celts spread all over Europe one could deduce that most people today in the US are related to the Celts of ancient.
No Written Language
The Ancient Celts never did produce a written language. They counted on their people to carry on their thoughts and ideas. They had a sophisticated social structure and – in a way – it preserved their ideas and history. Druids, Bards, and Ovates were highly trained 'keepers of the knowledge'. They could recite Celtic laws, rituals, and history. Written accounts of the Celts and their behavior comes from Roman sources and other third parties. Archaeological digs at several sites have produced other bits of information.
Gaelic and other close Gaelic languages are still spoken in the British Isles.
The Keltic Cross is perhaps the best known symbol. It can be found all over Europe. This is a cross with a circle around it so that the arms of the cross extend outward beyond the circle. Some writers state that the cross was a symbol for the Celts before it became popular as a christian symbol. Crosses were made of wood and stone, but today few of any wooden Celtic symbols remain. Keltic knots symbolize endless love and are revered as Celtic love symbols today.
The tales of King Arthur and Camelot are very Celtic. This is a tragic maybe even a magic tale of chivalry and honor and the hope of what could be. But alas, it ends in sorrow – Guinevere along with Lancelot betray their beloved king. Many movies have been made about Arthur and the the knights of the round table. The plot makes for a great story and most likely will continue to intrigue people for all time. The story of the holy grail which has been made popular lately is another part of Arthur's story. It is thought that Joseph of Arimathea brought the grail to Ireland in the first century. It was lost. Hence, about three hundred years later Arthur orders his knights to find it and the quest began.
These two tales are captivating perhaps as intriguing as the Celts themselves. They have left us with their legacy of symbols which have their own intrinsic meanings. Symbols of love and life, of relationships and sometimes fear as used on the battlefield to intimidate the enemy. Some symbols have become quite popular as Celtic Tattoo art. All these symbols leave us with intriguing mysteries to solve and enjoy.