Welcome to Everything you want to know about The Celts

Hello there! We are a modern day Northern European Style tribe called Maers Khohias. We are of both Norse and Celtic decent here. Come sit. Warm yourself by our fire!! We want you to feel at home as we share some of our Celtic tribe's hospitality. Come. Join in our sitting circle, round the central cauldron and have something to eat, in our Celtic round house. Once fed, sit back, relax, read and listen to some of our stories. Here you will find great information, taking you back in time to meet the ancestors.

If you have the opportunity to come in person to Crawford Bay, BC and take in our courses taught at our school, you'll hear more information, on the Celts and the Vikings, not shared here, as well as live music. We'd love to hear your stories too!!

In no time, you'll be dancing, sharing some good mead or ale and adding to the rooms boasts and toasts.
We Northern European Celts and Vikings are waiting for you.

Having and event? We offer lots of props to choose from as well as great musicians and entertainers. This will be the icing for your Celtic or Viking medieval style event. Need some costumes or warrior gear? We shall help you there too. ... Or Maybe you are the studious type and want to study Celtic ritual, dance, music and beliefs, or have a you have a gift. If so you might want to take a course from our Druid/Bard schools. See here.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

Celtic Hairstyles, Grooming & Hair Decor

A lot of people have asked me about Celtic hair styles for both men and women.  They want to know about everyday lives and how they looked.
Soap - The Romans noted that the Celts were very particular about bathing and grooming habits. They smelled great, as they we know they washed their hands and faces with soap in the morning, as well as bathed fully with soap in the evening. Afterwards they applied oil with scented herbs on their skin. In the Brehon laws there is clear descriptions as to when the elite 'security' warriors have to bath as well as foster children's brats had to be washed every other day. A brat was a kind of cloak Almost ritualistic in belief. It is said that it is the Celts who introduced soap to the Romans who used the oil and sticks to scrape off their dirt previously.

Celtic Hands - In Ireland, the hierarchy persons had to have their fingernails kept well-groomed. The warriors were considered hierarchy and would be shamed if he kept his nails ragged. Women sometimes dyed their nails crimson as we see from the story of Deirdre who makes a statement that crimsoning her nails refers to joyous occasions and thus she will no longer do this when some boys die.

Celtic Facial and Body Hair & Makeup - Make Celts were sometimes with or without a beard or moustache, depended on the tribe and position. Some soldiers and lower class Celts had moustaches, often curled up at the ends, but without the beard up to the medieval period. The Beards were often forked - Irish artwork Very few others show an unforked beard, and instead with a square cut to the bottom. Other beard styles show one single long beard on chin, sometimes with a square cut to the bottom.
Prominent persons were either clean-shaven or had both a beard and a moustache. The moustache later became know to the aristocracy and worn alone, which carried through to the medieval period. Diodorus of Sicily - "Nobles shave their cheeks, but they let the moustache grow until it covers the mouth." As said there are several tribes so this all depends on the area. Caesar noted that the Celts shaved their bodies except for the head and upper lip.
In the myths we can see many things they did, but one must read through the many to find these gems. For example - Berry juice, would sometimes be used for ladies eyebrows black. Irish missionary monks were also known to paint or dye their eyelids black. The cheeks were reddened using a plant called 'ruam' -- could be alder berries but it is unknown. It is not clear whether both men & women reddened their cheeks.

Celtic Hair was long according to Cesar and a few other sources by the free classes and for both men and women - Irish artwork.
Warriors, on the other hand - (Roman sculpture of the 'dying Gaul' and the soldier from the Book of Kells), have hair that looks like a bowl cut, higher at back and longer over the eyes. The cut is much like the 'glib' style worn by soldiers in late medieval Ireland. Warrior soldiers and lower-class men wore a long moustache without an accompanying beard. One of the tests for membership for joining some of the elite warrior groups was that the candidate had to run through a wood, chased by the entire Fianna, without having a braid of his hair loosened by the branches.
Sometimes, on the occasion, they wore their hair in a multiple elaborate curls and braids they decorated feathers, gold balls, silver and bronze ribbons, thin flexible gold plates, or gold balls and other ornaments fastened in their hair. In the Tain Bo Culaigne, a beautiful woman wears three braids of hair wound round her head, and the fourth hanging down her back to her ankles. One of the tests for membership into Warrior class was that the candidate had to run through a wood, chased by the entire Warrior band, without having a braid of his hair loosened by the branches.
The ancient Celts had a unique hair style which attracted the attention of many Classical authors.
Diodorus of Sicily - says the Celts were tall and muscular, with pale skin and blond hair which they highlight artificially by washing it in lime-water. They then gather it back from the forehead to the top of the head and down to the nape of the neck... and therefore the hair becomes so heavy and coarse that it looks like the mane of horses.  Could be they considered the Unicorn or Horse God as their Mother.

Irish texts refer to hair so long and stiff that it would have impaled a falling apple. The Irish hero god CuChulainn is described this way, and it is added that his hair was of three colours, darkest near the scalp and lightest at the end. If he is a Hound constellation we can see the dimmer stars, or it could be the reference to the style of bleaching they learned to do.

* Note - Celts always fostered their children to other clans for study.  Soap is not proven but most say it is the Celts who either invented it or brought it to Europe.
The above information I've got from descriptions by Welsh and Irish mythology stories, both Classical and early Irish sources as well as depictions in Irish artwork by various authors such as Joyce, Berresford, both Mathews & Markale.

By Brahva Cwmevos

Copyright 2012

The Celts from what history tells us in literature and in Celtic artwork, seem to have worn their hair long.  However there is a marble statue labeled 'the dying Gaul', who has hair that looks like a "bowl" cut.  His hair long over his eyes and short in the back his head. The statue is a Roman copy of the original, thought to have been made originally of bronze. It is thought that is was made sometime between 230 - 220 BCE to celebrate Attalus 1 of Pergamon's victory over the Galatians (Celts) living in what is now modern Turkey.  It seems more of a peasant style haircut and who knows they could of cut his hair to shame him.

Male Chieftains or other classes with high esteem wore both beards with mustaches or they were clean shaven so either one is fine when doing a reenactment.  Beards were often forked or long middle beard, squared at the bottom and decorated.  

Warriors and lower classes wore a long mustache without the beard through out the medieval period. Mustaches were sometimes worn curled up at the ends. 

Celts did not have long plain hair and they were not savages as some movies have depicted.  Both men and women took pride in decorating their hair, making elaborate curls and braids.  Gold balls and feathers sometimes were fastened to the end of the hair. The different tribes of course wore different hairstyles.  The hair is described in detail of some of the old manuscripts and mythology stories. I think that wearing the hair in certain ways might have been their station in the tribe.  I believe this because of the trials they would go through to receive an honour such as warrior etc.  For example, one of the Initiation tests for membership in the Fianna (a warrior group in early Ireland) was that the candidate had to run through a wood, chased by the entire Fianna, without having a braid of his hair loosened by the branches.  Another tells of a beautiful woman having three braids of hair wound round her head, and the fourth hanging down her back to her ankles.  

Numerous types of hair ornaments were used for both hair and beards.  Hollow golden beads were most popular, as well as gold, silver or bronze hair ribbons, bendable gold plates, and gold, silver and bronze circlets around their foreheads and into their hair.

Hair pins were used and many have been found with shield like ends or animals.

Very decorative Hair combs were found as well made of bone or horn, with strips of metal to strength them. Razors were in use as well, as well as mirrors. Women also carried a small bags containing their little hygiene trinkets.

Their servants or ladies in waiting would dress the leader Queens or Kings or warrior Chieftains.

See more on Hair in my other posts with citations.

by Laurie Lee Mills
December 12, 2015


Benjamin Shurts said...

Great, post this actually very helpful. I'm doing a post on the history of hair removal around the world on nomorebodyhair.com. Any chance you would know if the Celts or other ancient germanic tribes removed body hair and why, or what resources I could check out for that?

Brahva said...

Hi Benjamin. Thanks for your comments. You might want to check out -

Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History
By Victoria Sherrow

Antonimoose said...

What was the oil and herb mixture they would apply to there skin and also what was their soap made out of

Brahva said...

The Celts made their soap from animal fat and plant ashes and they named the product saipo, from which the word soap is derived.