By HAP MANSFIELD
From the profusion of Celtic armband tattoos, and claddagh rings (the heart with the crown and clasped hands) that adorn so many, it would seem that everyone was part of the Celtic tribe. This is not too far from wrong.
The original Celts were a diverse group of Iron Age tribal societies scattered throughout Europe. Some even made their way to China. So, there is a distinct possibility that you have Celtic roots even though your ancestors are not from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall or Britanny, the traditional areas associated with the tribe.
In other words, you may have more reason than you think to celebrate St. Bridget’s Festival at the San Marcos Activity Center this Saturday.
More than 100 Celtic artworks are featured in the exhibit, “Celtic Spirit Worldwide”, at the Walker’s Gallery there for your perusal. The art has come from all over the world and features local artists as well.
You can also wander through Celtic arts and crafts booths featuring prints, jewelry, Renaissance clothing, decorative crosses, books, music CDs and loads of charming Celtic gifts ripe for Valentine’s day giving.
St. Bridget’s Day, Feb 1, is celebrated on the eve of her Saint’s Day and is considered the first day of Spring in Ireland. St. Bridget is the name of both the Celtic Goddess of light, fire and healing, and the Christian saint, Bridgid of Kildare, St. Bridgid and St. Patrick are the patron saints of Ireland.
The kind and charitable St. Bridgid is traditionally known as the protector of women, animals and kitchens – the engines that run the world.
The St. Bridget’s Festival is loaded with fun activities that will appeal to young and old from the fun free Celtic crafts for kids to a display of dancing by the Austin Scottish Country Dance Alliance.
Plenty of music at the festival will help you get your jig on, and the building will rollick with traditional Irish and Celtic music (and pubs songs) from bands like Austin’s remarkable Strayway, Doc Grauzer on the Celtic harp and Wimberley’s very own Irish band, O’Malarkey.
At 3 p.m. famed storyteller David Thompson will be spinning tales for all. Thompson has won the National Irish Storytelling Championship not once, but twice, and this alone is a pedigree for an amazingly well told tale. Thompson says he has told stories from abandoned drainpipes in Atlanta to National Public Radio. He is a treat not to be missed.
In fact, the only thing missing might be the Boston Celtics, but they probably won’t be missed in the day’s musical and saintly-inspired festivities, since the Boston Celtics are neither. The festival will run from 11 a. m.-5 p.m.