THE CELTIC LANGUAGE OF THE ASTURES

It is an undeniable fact the large amount of Celtic elements present in the Asturian and Cantabrian onomastics, fact that we could relate to the Hallstattic and post-Hallstattic finds occurring from Galicia to Navarra, and always more frequent towards the West than towards the East.

Prehispanic_languages

According to Richard Turnwald, the Northwest, occupied by Astures and Gallaeci, is rife with Celtic elements.

With regard to hydronymy, and according to González and Fernández Vallés, there is in Asturies a certain number of rivers of non-Celtic Indoeuropean names: Eo, Navia, Nalón, Ibias, Arganza, Narcea, Nora, Ayeri, Güeña… and others which can be classified as Celtic: Sella, Uerna (stemming from “Orna”, Celtic particle similar to that of some Belgian and French rivers), Dobra (from Celtic “dubro”, meaning “water”), Bedón (from Celtic “bedo”, meaning “ditch” or “channel”; parallel to other toponyms in Northern Italy, France and Switzerland), Deva (of religious significance and Celtic nature, as the river would be the dwelling of a god or worth of a god) etc.

RioDobra2

In addition to Deva, there are other toponyms possibly derived from names of Celtic gods. Lug, principal deity of the Celts, is reflected in Lloxu (Uviéu), Llugo de Llanera (Llanera) and Llugás (Villaviciosa); beside the ethnonym Luggoni, mentioned in the Classic sources as the inhabitants of the Asturian central area.

There are, likewise, numerous Asturian toponyms which might derive from the god Taranus/Taranis: Taraño (Corvera), Taraña (Sieru), Taranes (Ponga), Tarañu (Cangues d’Onís), Tarañu (Cabrales), Taranos hill (Western massif of the Picos d’Europa)… This is a divinity related to war and thunder.

Other names of Celtic gods have been suggested, such as Cernunnos –deity provided with stag antlers who bestows riches upon its believers, also related to the realm of the dead– in the mountain ranges of Cermoño and Cermuñu.

Likewise, we find Vendonius –Celtic god which was associated to Apollo in Gaul– in Bendueños (L.lena). We have references to this one from Ptolemy, who mentioned it as the name of a mountain or mountain range, namely the Picos d’Europa or more precisely Peña Ubiña, deriving from the Latin “albínea” (white, snowy) and related to the Celtic term “vindios” (white).

UBI08

Bearing this in mind, from the point of view of toponymy, Celtic presence in Asturies offers some clues which lead us to consider the existence of a Celtic language in Asturies.

We also find some elements containing the term -briga amongst Astures: Aubri(ga), Cadabri(ga), Calubriga, Ercoriobri(ga), Longebriga, Tebriga and Tilobriga.

-Ci desinences: Argamonici, Ablaidaci, Arrondiaci, Cabruagenici, Cilurnigi, Viromenigi and Orniaci.

Notice likewise the following as a curiosity:

«…On the West Irish coast, the suffix to form Celtic diminutives -in is quite widespread and is written as -een by multiple Anglo-Irish writers like J.M. Synge. Thus, the English word “children” is presented as “childreen”, “girl” as “girleen”, “glas” as “glasheen”, “breeze” as “breezheen”…» (excerpt from the book “Lenguas y literaturas celtas, origen y evolución”, Ramón Sainiero, p. 44).

Interestingly, we have the same diminutive -in in Asturian, with the same affective tone: gatín, guah.ín, perrín etc. And although the diminutive -ino -ina exists in Italian, Portuguese and Galician, which would lead us to attribute a Latin substrate to the Asturian one, the issue is that Italian lacks that affective connotation: “signorina” is equivalent to the Spanish “señorita” (English “miss”) –question of age or civil status–, whereas in Asturian “señorina” is equivalent to the Spanish “viejecita” (roughly English “lovely old lady”).

The book “L’Aventure des langues en Occident”, of Henriette Walter, director of the phonology laboratory of the École pratique des hautes études in Paris and professor of linguistics, postulates that the Celtic language of Galicia, in contrast with the other Celtic languages spread across the peninsula which disappeared in the 1st century BC, survived until the 7th century AD. According to the attached map showing the influence of this language in the 7th century, it can be appreciated that although the indicated territory is referred to as Galicia, it also corresponds to present-day Asturies.

Translation from Asturian to English:

Sergio Fernández Redondo.

Photographs and illustrations:

1st.- Map of the pre-Roman languages of the Iberian Peninsula. Source: Wikipedia.

2nd.- Dobra river – Asturies. Author: unknow. Source: Google

3rd.- Peña Ubiña peak – Asturies. Author: Alberto Lastra.

4th.- Roman inscription that says “Asturum et luggonu”. Currently in the Archaeological Museum of Asturies.

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CHARRA: ASTURIA Y LOS ASTURES NA PROTOHESTORIA.

El pasau sábadu 11 payares,  la Plataforma Cultural Agora fízonos l’honor d’invitanos al “ñacimientu” de so comu tal a la Lliga Celta d’Asturies. Aiciu qu’agradecemos fonderamente y aceutamos prestosos/es dir a dar una charra sobro Asturia y los ástures na protohestioria que tuvi’l placer d’impartir  nel macroeventu cultural qu’entamasteis nun pueblu perprestosu (Areñes de Belonciu), alrodiau de xente estraordinario, tantu nel tratu personal, comu poles  estremaes actividaes que faen ca ún/a d’ellos/es (ebanistes, pintores,semeyeros, cantantes, músicos, poetas, escritores, etnógrafos, etc, etc, etc, y yo.

Na charra, quise facer un percorríu someru y xeneral sobro que yera Asturia; como yera’l territoriu de so, tribus/clanes ástures que lu conformaben, sociedá astur, economía astur, panteón relixosu de los ástures… etc. Ye dicir, unes pincelaes d’un pueblu milenariu, complexu y arguyosu comu’l nuesu. Esperu habelo fechu bien. Mentantu, Sonia, la Secretaria de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies, intentaba sacar delles semeyes del eventu pa nueso ficheru internu.

L’esperiencia abegosamente podría haber sido meyor; xente perprestosa, un llugar per afayaízu, y por supuestu too’l calor y sofitu de tola xente d’Agora que tuvi’l gustu de conocer.

A tola xente qu’averástisvos a sentime na charra, GRACIES!; a toles persones que formen la Plataforma Cultural Agora, GRACIES!; espero qu’haya otres posibilidaes de facer coses tan prestoses comu esta en comuña nun futuru.

Salú!

Fernán Morán, presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.

 

NUECHE D’ANIMES 2017

Bones a toos ya toes, mañán tolos celtes del mundiu cellebraremos el final del branu. Entama l’hibiernu ya l’escuridá, una etapa ú too morre pa rexurdir de nuéu cola l.legada’l sol.

Amás de too esto, la nueche’l 31 al 1 payares el mundiu feéricu ya’l mundu terrenal comuníquense y los espíritos los nuesos ancestros tan presentes nel mundiu pa protexenos, pa meyorar les coyeches, pa curianos. Per esu ye tan perimportante l’amagüestu, facer honor a nuesos ancestros y dayos l’inmortalidá al traviés de l’alcordanza de so ya invitalos al so banquete. Tenemos que mazcaranos y facer les llinternes de nuesu  pa espantar los pantasmas con males intenciones; colocar les veles encendíes nes ventanes pa guiar les almes de los difuntos… y curiáu coles ánimes!

Dende la Lliga Celta d’Asturies, deséyovos a toos/es un prestosu y bayurosu Añu Nuevu y que los ancestros siéntanse arguyosos de toos nos, porque caltenemos la cultura y tradiciones que mos dexaron eiquí… Salú!!!

Fernán Morán, presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.

ASTURIAN MYTHOLOGY: DECEASED’S DAY OR SOULS’ NIGHT

On the eve of the 1st of November takes place All Hallows’ Night: After twilight, the boundaries separating the realm of the living from the realm of the dead fade, and we are invaded by the souls of our ancestors and infernal spirits of the night.

On the vigil of All Hallows’ Day, the Deceased’s Magüestu is held, which is the collection and roasting of chestnuts outdoors, by a bonfire. All members of the family sit around the fire and upon conclusion, they cast the remaining chestnuts to the ground saying: “This is for the deceased to eat!”.

After dinner, it is time for the so-called round of the holy souls, which consists on offering them a Lord’s Prayer. In this respect, Asturians from a rural environment are rather respectful to the souls of the ancestors and so, on the anniversary of the death of a person, they hold a banquet in their honour, wherein an empty place is reserved for the deceased.

It is believed that, on the Deceased’s Night, the souls leave the Other World and return momentarily to the living world, to remember past times: Thus, they sit by the hearth and start talking amongst themselves. One has to try not to have a very strong flame lest it reach them; also, the trivet ought not to be left on or the deceased could sit on it and burn themselves.

The floor ought not to be swept at night either, as we could expel them from the house, and not slamming the doors suddenly either, lest we hurt a spirit who happened to be there. Furthermore, the farmers yield their beds to the deceased, so they can lie on them; they also ensure that all the buckets and smithies have plenty of water, so the spirits can drink when passing by.

On that very night, small lamps are lit over oil pots, and each one is lit after the soul of a deceased. The first lamp to go off indicates that the soul after whom it was lit just left Purgatory. If this deceased did not need that lamp for being already in Heaven or Hell, the lamp would burn for the most necessitated soul from the rest.

  

The deceased also roam the pathways and many people place pumpkins with carved-out faces on the crossroads, representing the soul of a dead person. It is dangerous to go out at night on this date, as one can encounter the Güestia anywhere, as it happened to some fishermen from Cuideiru, who saw from the sea this phantasmal procession walking by the shore.

On the following morning, families go to the cemetery to visit their deceased relatives, to whom they offer a yew branch, which will aid them to return to the Other World. Moreover, in many parts of Asturies, farmers do not work on this day out of respect and reverence for the deceased.

Translation Asturian to English:

Sergio Fernández Redondo

Photos and ilustrations:

1st.- Painting titled “Filandón del Monesteriu d’Hermo”, painted by Luís alvarez Catalá in 1872.

2nd.- Example of banquet for the deceased in Asturias.

3rd.- Lantern made with turnips.

4th.- Lantern made with turnips.

ASTURIAN MYTHOLOGY: THE GÜESTIA

The Güestia is a group of wandering souls which visit the dying shortly before their decease at night. It is normally formed by old acquaintances of the dying person who embarked in the trip before him. They usually bear lit bones and wear white shrouds and, occasionally, they carry a coffin wherein they will take the soul of the dead person. The purpose of the Güestia is not to provoke fear in the living, but to merely act as carriers of the soul of the future deceased. Although they are not dangerous, if a living unwittingly happened upon them and touched them, he would die as well, so in this case he would have to draw a circle on the ground and step inside.

In San Xuan de Beleño, it was also considered a protective act to hold or tie yourself to a male calf.

Verses chanted by the Güestia:

Cuandu nós yéramos vivos
andábamos a estos figos
y agora que somos muertos
andamos per estos güertos.
¡Andar, andar,
hasta’l tueru la figar!

When we were alive
we scrumped these figs
and now that we are dead
we roam these orchards.
Walk, walk,
until the fig’s trunk!

The procession or group of souls encircles three times the house of a dying person and, upon finishing the third round, the person dies and their image appears in the coffin carried by the spectres, or the form carried by the phantasmal beings morphs into the image of the deceased. Thereupon, the Güestia shrieks, the lights go off and it disappears.

The round usually lasts for seven nights, and dismal chants can be heard. The image of the moribund forms part of the procession, so as if a neighbour is seen therein, their death is foreboded. Aurelio de Llano relates the following events occurred in Caravia.

And they say that one night, a woman who lived in La Teyera heard the sound of a bell, so she looked out of the window and saw in the distance two files of people with lit candles approaching the village. Assuming that they were after giving the last rites to some neighbour, she took a candle and approached a member of the group who lit it for her, and then followed them until the house of a sick person.

Once the ceremony was finished, the woman returned to her house and the cortège continued towards the Convent of St. James. The following night, the good woman heard the bell again, went to take the candle that she kept in her chest and she found a bone instead. She went out, approached him who had lit her candle the previous night and said:

– “Ghost of the Güestia, take this bone and give me my candle!”

– “Cursed be he who taught you” – said the one from the cortège; and handed the candle to the woman. It so happens that the candle alleviated the sorrows of that soul, therefore he kept it.

                                                                                (Aurelio de Llano, ‘Del folclore asturiano’, IDEA, 1977).

Source:

Wikipedia.

Asturian to English translation:

Sergio Fernández Redondo.

Ilustrations:

1st.- The Güestia. Author: unknow.

2nd.- The Güestia. Author: Luís.

 

TRADICIONES ASTURIANES: L’AMAGÜESTU.

Tamos n’ochobre, tiempu de castañes ya sidre dulce, acompánganos el Vientu les Castañes y, comu ca añu, apetéznos cellebrar l’amagüestu, fiesta que suel cellebrase la Nueche d’Animes o a lo llargo la primer quincena payares. N’esta folixa pagana y arcana, axuntámonos los ásturianos y asturianes cola familia y la mocedá a xintar castañes asaes, sorber sidre dulce, cuntar hestories, bailar la Danza Prima ya’l Ríu Verdi… ye una cellebración bien prestosa y cargao de sinificau pa tolos celtes.

L’amagüestu ye una cellebración pagana, nun se tien conocencia esauta del aniciu de so emperu ye lo bastante antiguú comu pa que piérdase na Nueche los Tiempos.

Esti ritu ta venceyau a la Nueche d’Animes o Dií de Difuntos ya que presuponse que la castaña ye’l símbolu de l’alma los difuntos asina que por ca castaña que xíntase nel amagüestu un alma ye lliberao del Purgatoriu.

Yendo más atrás nel tiempu, tamién ye notoriu que tien un claru venceyu cola cultura celta, ya que, non en pocos sitios, Asturies incluyía, l’amagüestu, cellebrase l’unu payares, conocida cellebración céltica ya que’l mundiu féericu ya’l terrenal conéctense ya nel que rendimos homenax y respetu a nuesos muertos y cellebrase l’Añu Nuevu celta. De fechu, nun hai munchu tiempu atrás, quiciabes entovía n’algunes aldegues asturianes, mientres facíase l’amagüestu na Nueche d’Animes, tirábense delles castañes a l’aire ya dicíase: “¡Esto ye pa que xinten los difuntos!”

Tampocu hai qu’escaecer qu’esta cellebración faese tamién n’otres fasteres casi de toa Uropa y caltien distintos nomes ensegún seya’l sitiu de cellebración: magosto, magüestu, amagosto,  etc. Nel Noroeste de la península, ye mui común en toles  naciones celtes: País Llionés, Cantabria, Galiza, Norte’n Portugal y nosotros, comu nun podría ser d’otru xeitu.

Autor:

Fernán Morán, Presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies

Semeyes:

1.- Bodegón asturianu. Autora: M. Aurora.

2ª.- Amagüestu. Fonte: Turismo de Asturias. Autor/a. desconocíu/a.

3ª.- Amagüestu cola mocedá. Fonte: LNE. Autor/a: desconocíu/a.

Vídios:

1ª.- Danza Prima. Productora de Programas del Principado. Dirixíu por Francisco Orejas y montau por Nacho Salgado. Fonte: YouTube.

CRÓNICA LA CHARRA: EL LLOBU NA CULTURA ASTURIANA.

Güei pudimos esfrutar ya deprender abondes coses sobro’l venceyu ente’l llobu y la cultura material ya inmaterial asturiana, sobro too ésta última.

Depués del mio breve comentariu sobro la Lliga Celta d’Asturies ya les nueso actividaes ya d’una presentación de la charra, Bertu Peña,  fízonos un percorríu poles lleendes asturianes sobro l’home llobu y faciendo comparanza coles d’otres naciones celtes del Arcu Atlánticu ya’l continente uropeu; depués falonos de cuentos populares de varies zones d’Asturies asina comu’l norte Llión sobre’l llobu; falonos tamién de los l.loberos; hebo sitiu pa cuntanos abondes coses sobro la rellación ente’l llobu y la melecina máxico-tradicional d’Asturies; ya lo caberu falonos, dientru la cultura material d’Asturies ya Llión de los chorcos, fuxos, etc, ya les sos distintes carauterístiques… too esto con notes d’humor que ficiéron que tolos/es que tábemos ellí pasáramos un ratu perprestosu amás de didácticu, nuna pallabra, saliose.

Dende la Lliga Celta d’Asturies agradecemos fonderamente l’asistencia de tola xente que foi a nuesu eventu, la maravillosa, inestimable ya desinteresada collaboración d’Alberto Alvarez Peña comu ponente; y como non, la xenerosidá, tamién desinteresao del Ateneu Obreru de Xixón que cedionos su Sala Conferencies pa facer esti eventu.. GRACIES!!!

    

Espero veros a toos/es na prósima!!!

Fernán Morán, Presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.

Semeyes: toles semeyes del eventu feches por Sonia González.

 

CONFERENCIA ENTAMAO POLA LLIGA CELTA D’ASTURIES: EL LLOBU NA CULTURA ASTURIANA.

Dientru’l Programa Añal d’Actividaes de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies, tenemos el gustu de convidavos averavos el prósimu vienres 13 d’ochobre a sentir la charra que va impartir Alberto Alvarez Peña, conocíu y prestixiosu etnógrafu, escritor, dibuxante, etc, que va mostranos el venceyu ente esti magníficu animal y la cultura tradicional de nuesu asoyleyao na tradición oral, lleendes y cuentos populares asturianos. Esti eventu tará apresentáu por Fernán Morán, presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.

Dende la Lliga Celta d’Asturies queremos agradecer la collaboracion complétamente desinteresada, tantu d’Alberto Alvarez Peña comu ponente, comu del Ateneu Obreru de Xixón que mos ceció la so Sala Conferencies pa facer esti eventu.

Tais toos/es convidaos/es, l’actividá ye pública y de baldre, ya l’aforu ye llibre ta completar l’aforu… vemonos ellí!

Fernán Morán, presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.

 

 

COMUNICAU DE LA LLIGA CELTA D’ASTURIES

La Lliga Celta d’Asturies, quier agradecer públicamente la collaboración, solidaridá y xenerosidá qu’amuesaron pa col nuesu proyeutu de creación d’un Fondu Documental de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies, que tendrá comu oxetivu, ente otros,  ufrecer la posibilidá de facer consultes de los documentos de so a investigadores/as, tantu de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies, comu d’otres organizaciones e inclusu particulares nun futuru a mediu plazu.

L’aportación que ficieron estes entidaes foi esencial pa poder entamar col proyeutu, asina que nun podemos facer menos qu’estimá-ylo fondéramente. Les entidaes que mos sofitaron esti proyeutu foron:

Consejería Cultura del Principau d’Asturies: Direición Xeneral de Planificación Llingüística y Normalización: Serviciu de Planificación Llingüística y Normalización.

Academia de la Llingua Asturiana

Rial Institutu d’Estudios Asturianos

A toes estes organizaciones y entidaes, gracies, ensín el sofitu de vuesu esti proyeutu nun hebiera entamau…

Fernán Morán, Presidente de la Lliga Celta d’Asturies.