[bel-teyn, -tin]
an ancient Celtic festival observed on May Day in Scotland and Ireland to mark the beginning of summer.

1375–1425; late Middle English (Scots) < Scots Gaelic bealltainn, Old Irish bel(l)taine, perhaps equivalent to *bel- an obscure element, perhaps the name of a supernatural person + tene fire Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To Beltane
World English Dictionary
Beltane (ˈbɛlteɪn, -tən)
an ancient Celtic festival with a sacrificial bonfire on May Day. It is also celebrated by modern pagans
[C15: from Scottish Gaelic bealltainn]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

early 15c., from Lowland Scottish, from Gaelic bealltainn "May 1," important Celtic religious rite marking the start of summer, probably lit. "blazing fire," from PIE base *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach) + O.Ir. ten "fire," from PIE *tepnos, related to L.
tepidus "warm." But this derivation of the second element is hotly disputed by some on philological grounds, and fires were equally important in the other Celtic holidays. Also known as "Old May Day," because after the 1752 calendar reform it continued to be reckoned according to Old Style; it was one of the quarter-days of ancient Scotland.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature