SUMMARY / RELATED TOPICS

Beltane

Beltane or Beltain is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most it is held on 1 May, or about halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, it was observed throughout Ireland and the Isle of Man. In Irish the name for the festival day is Lá Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Là Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Laa Boaltinn/Boaldyn, it is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain and Lughnasadh—and is similar to the Welsh Calan Mai. Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and is associated with important events in Irish mythology. Known as Cétshamhain, it marked the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle and people, to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, their flames and ashes were deemed to have protective powers; the people and their cattle would walk around or between bonfires, sometimes leap over the flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and re-lit from the Beltane bonfire.

These gatherings would be accompanied by a feast, some of the food and drink would be offered to the aos sí. Doors, windows and livestock would be decorated with yellow May flowers because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush: a thorn bush or branch decorated with flowers, bright shells and rushlights. Holy wells were visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe. Beltane celebrations had died out by the mid-20th century, although some of its customs continued and in some places it has been revived as a cultural event. Since the late 20th century, Celtic neopagans and Wiccans have observed Beltane, or something based on it, as a religious holiday. Neopagans in the Southern Hemisphere celebrate Beltane at the other end of the year. Beltane was one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals: Samhain, Imbolc and Lughnasadh. Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season, when livestock were driven out to the summer pastures.

Rituals were held at that time to protect them from harm, both natural and supernatural, this involved the "symbolic use of fire". There were rituals to protect crops, dairy products and people, to encourage growth; the aos sí were thought to be active at Beltane and the goal of many Beltane rituals was to appease them. Most scholars see the aos sí as remnants of the pagan gods and nature spirits. Beltane was a "spring time festival of optimism" during which "fertility ritual again was important connecting with the waxing power of the sun". Beltane and Samhain are thought to have been the most important of the four Gaelic festivals. Sir James George Frazer wrote in The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion that the times of Beltane and Samhain are of little importance to European crop-growers, but of great importance to herdsmen. Thus, he suggests that halving the year at 1 May and 1 November dates from a time when the Celts were a pastoral people, dependent on their herds; the earliest mention of Beltane is in Old Irish literature from Gaelic Ireland.

According to the early medieval texts Sanas Cormaic and Tochmarc Emire, Beltane was held on 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. The texts say that, to protect cattle from disease, the druids would make two fires "with great incantations" and drive the cattle between them. According to 17th-century historian Geoffrey Keating, there was a great gathering at the hill of Uisneach each Beltane in medieval Ireland, where a sacrifice was made to a god named Beil. Keating wrote that two bonfires would be lit in every district of Ireland, cattle would be driven between them to protect them from disease. There is no reference to such a gathering in the annals, but the medieval Dindsenchas includes a tale of a hero lighting a holy fire on Uisneach that blazed for seven years. Ronald Hutton writes that this may "preserve a tradition of Beltane ceremonies there", but adds "Keating or his source may have conflated this legend with the information in Sanas Chormaic to produce a piece of pseudo-history."

Excavations at Uisneach in the 20th century found evidence of large fires and charred bones, showing it to have been ritually significant. Beltane is mentioned in medieval Scottish literature. An early reference is found in the poem'Peblis to the Play', contained in the Maitland Manuscripts of 15th- and 16th-century Scots poetry, which describes the celebration in the town of Peebles. From the late 18th century to the mid 20th century, many accounts of Beltane customs were recorded by folklorists and other writers. For example John Jamieson, in his Etymological Dictionary of the Scottish Language describes some of the Beltane customs which persisted in the 18th and early 19th centuries in parts of Scotland, which he noted were beginning to die out. In the 19th century, folklorist Alexander Carmichael, collected the song Am Beannachadh Bealltain in his Carmina Gadelica, which he heard from a crofter in South Uist. Bonfires continued to be a key part of the festival in the modern era. All hearth fires and candles would be doused before the bonfire was lit on a mountain or hill.

Ronald Hutton writes that "To increase the potency of the holy flames, in Britain at least they were kindled by the most primit

Pre-1900 South Pacific cyclone seasons

The following is a list of all reported tropical cyclones within the South Pacific Ocean, to the east of 160°E, before 1900. Ancient Polynesians and others who inhabited the tropical Pacific before the Europeans arrived, knew of and feared the hurricanes of the South Pacific, they were keen and accurate observers of nature and developed various myths and legends, which reflected their knowledge of these systems. For example, the people of Mangaia in the Cook Islands had over 30 different names for the wind direction including Maoaketa, which indicated that a cyclonic storm existed to the west of the island. During the 1700s, Captain James Cook conducted three voyages within the Pacific Ocean and it is thought that he didn't collect any information about or experience any tropical cyclones. Europeans that followed Cook soon realised that the South Pacific was not free of hurricanes and were the first to publish accounts about the systems. During 1853, Thomas Dobson became the first person to collate information about these systems, in order to attempt to understand and explain the characteristics of 24 tropical cyclones.

However, these descriptions were considered to be vague and of little value, because he only had a small amount of data and no synoptic weather charts. Over the next 40 years various reports and log books on the storms were published before E Knipping consolidated these reports and extended Dobson's list out to 120 tropical cyclones during 1893. During the 1920s Stephen Sargent Visher did some research into tropical cyclones in the Pacific and visited several island nations, he consulted various journals and reports as well as Dobson's and Knipping's work, before he authored a number of papers on tropical cyclones in the Pacific. These papers contained information about 259 tropical storms in the South Pacific between 160°E and 140°W, two of which occurred during 1789 and 1819, while the rest occurred between 1830 and 1923. Visher tried to estimate how many systems were occurring on an annual basis in each area, but overcompensated for his incomplete records and came up with a figure of 12 severe tropical cyclones per year.

During Visher's time and until the start of World War Two, there was insufficient information available to allow for an accurate deception of tropical cyclone tracks. February 1568 – During February 1568, two ships which were sailing near the Solomon Islands, were driven southwards for six days by a tropical cyclone after they avoided being shipwrecked on a reef. Around 1590 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Cook Islands, where it was estimated to have caused around 1000 to 2000 deaths. February 6, 1643 – Abel Tasman was sailing near Fiji and either experienced a hurricane or a severe gale. 1765 – During 1765, 20 people set sail from Tahiti and encountered a tropical cyclone, which guided four of them to the Cook Island of Atiu while the rest died at sea. June 3 – 15, 1783 – A tropical cyclone impacted Valparaíso in Chile. 1785 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Cook Islands and caused around 300 people to shelter in caves. 1788 – A tropical cyclone destroyed two ships, sailing between Sydney and the Solomon Islands, under the command of Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse.

Most of the crew drowned, however, a number of them lived onshore for several years. February 26, 1789 – A tropical cyclone impacted Norfolk Island. 1819 – A tropical cyclone impacted French Polynesia's Society Islands. 1820 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Solomon Islands in or around 1820. December 26, 1821 – A tropical cyclone impacted French Polynesia's Society Islands. January 1825 – A tropical cyclone impacted French Polynesia's Tuamotu Islands. June 23, 1827 – A tropical cyclone impacted Valparaíso in Chile. March 1830 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga. 1830 – A tropical cyclone impacted New Caledonia. March 21 – 22, 1831 – A tropical cyclone impacted Fiji. December 20 – 24, 1831 – A tropical cyclone impacted French Polynesia, the Samoan Islands and the Southern Cook Islands. January 24, 1833 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Vavaʻu island group. March 9, 1833 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Ha'apai island group. 1834 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Ha'apai island group. November 1835 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Ha'apai and Vavaʻu island groups.

1836 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Samoan Islands. February 7 – 10, 1839 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Cook Islands. February 7 – 10, 1839 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Ha'apai island group. February 1839 – A tropical cyclone impacted Fiji's Windward Islands. March 1839 – A tropical cyclone impacted Fiji's Windward Islands. December 29, 1839 – A tropical cyclone impacted Samoa. February 22 – 25, 1840 – A tropical cyclone impacted Fiji and the Cook Islands. February 27, 1840 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Fijian island of Viti Levu, where heavy rain caused flooding which indundated several homes within the Rewa Province. March 1840 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Fijian province of Macuata, where crops were reported to have been damaged. December 16 – 17, 1840 – A tropical cyclone impacted Samoa and the Cook Islands. December 1840 – A tropical cyclone occurred to the west of the Solomon Islands near the east coast of New Guinea. 1840 – A tropical cyclone impacted Tonga's Vavaʻu island group.

January 22 – 24, 1842 – A tropical cyclone impacted Fiji's Lau Islands, where bananas and breadfruits were blown down. December 15 – 18, 1842 – A tropical cyclone impacted Samoa, where bananas and breadfruits were blown down, trees were uprooted and houses damaged. December 1842 – A tropical cyclone impacted the Cook Islands, where one person was killed on a ship near Mangaia. December 19 – 21, 1843 – A weak tropical cyclone impacted French Polynesia, where it caused four deat

Aleksander Romanowicz

Aleksander Romanowicz was a general of cavalry in both Russian Imperial Army and Polish Army. Born April 1, 1871, in his family estate Olekszyszki, in 1890 he graduated from the Russian Army Cadet Corps in Polotsk entered the Officer’s School of Cavalry, becoming in 1892 a professional officer of the Russian Army, he was of Lithuanian Tatar origin. At the beginning of World War I, he fought in Eastern Prussia. Together with his soldiers, he was moved to the area of Kalisz, in 1916 was poisoned during a German gas attack. After recuperating, in 1917 he was moved to Finland. In November 1918 Romanowicz joined the Polish Army and became commander of the Tatar Uhlan Regiment 7th Mounted Regiment, he participated in the Polish-Soviet War. In mid-1921 he became president of the local Muslim community. Romanowicz moved to Wilno, where he died on November 14, 1933