Irish Language Blog

Féilte agus Feiseanna agus Laethe Speisialta i mí Feabhra: Fill in the Blanks Posted by on Jan 31, 2018 in Irish Language

grafaic:; polar bear USFWS a public domain JPG image; téacs Gaeilge le Róislín, 2018

(le Róislín)

How many holidays or festivals or special event days can you name for February?  And how many can you name in Irish?

Today’s blogpost offers a list of dates (liosta dátaí) for February  with columns for the names of the event or holiday in English and space to write the Irish name.   The challenge will be to translate from English to Irish, and to match the holiday to the date.  Some will be quite predictable, like Valentine’s Day, but others might be more challenging, especially those with the much-maligned but very useful tuiseal ginideach (genitive case).

Mar is gnách, tá na freagraí thíos.  As usual, the answers are below.  For no. 2, please do note that the Irish is a lot longer than the usual English (which is just one word).   Also, for the non-traditional  events, like National Pistachio Day (!), I’ve created the Irish translation (marked with an asterisk) and as far as I know, they’re not documented anywhere else.  But it’s all good vocabulary practice!

Dáta Ainm Gaeilge  Ainm Béarla
1. 1 Feabhra  St. Bridget’s Day
2. 2 Feabhra    Candlemas, for the Irish it’s literally “The Feast Day of Mary of the Candles”
3. 13 Feabhra 2018  Shrove Tuesday (aka Mardi Gras, i.e. “Fat   Tuesday,”  or Pancake Tuesday, but we don’t   need to translate those literally).
4. 14 Feabhra 2018  Ash Wednesday
5. 14 Feabhra  Valentine’s Day
6. 15 Feabhra    National Gumdrop Day (USA)
7. 19 Feabhra 2018  Presidents’ Day (USA)
8. 23 Feabhra  ‘Play Tennis’ Day
9. 26 Feabhra    National Pistachio Day and World Pistachio Day
10. 27 Feabhra    International Polar Bear Day


Tá súil agam gur bhain tú sult as an dúshlán.  Tá na freagraí agus roinnt nótaí thíos.  SGF, Róislín

Freagraí agus nótaí:

1)) Lá Fhéile Bríde, St. Bridget’s Day (NB: genitive case ending, adding “-e” to “Bríd;” also no lenition generally when saying things are “of” a saint, e.g. Lá Fhéile Pádraig, not “Phádraig,” but for an ordinary man named “Pádraig,” we’d say, “lá breithe Phádraig“).

2)) Lá Fhéile Muire na gCoinneal, Candlemas, lit. (The) Feast Day of Mary of the Candles

3)) Máirt Inide Shrove Tuesday, aka Mardi Gras aka Pancake Tuesday (NB: genitive case ending, adding “-e” to “Inid,” which comes from the Latin, “Initium” — so this Irish phrase isn’t based on the “shrove – shrive – shrift” word family)

4)) Céadaoin an Luaithrigh, Ash Wednesday

5)) Lá Fhéile Vailintín Valentine’s (feast) Day, aka Lá Vailintín, which is simply “day of Valentine,” and also aka, sometimes, Lá San Vailintín (lit. Day of Saint Valentine).  (NB: lenition of “féile” to say “of” the feastday),

6)) Lá na nUachtarán, Presidents’ Day, in the US (NB: genitive case marked by the lower-case “n-” prefix),

7)) *Lá Náisiúnta Meallán Guma, National Gumdrop Day, BTW, “gumdrops” are primarily an American candy, similar to “gumaí fíona” (“wine-gums” in Ireland and the UK), but the American gumdrop also has a sugar coating.

8))  *Lá ‘Imir Leadóg’, ‘Play Tennis’ Day.  Since “Imir Leadóg” is a command, there’s no need to change the word “leadóg” from its root form.  “Leadóige” would be used in phrases like “ag imirt leadóige” (playing tennis) or “cluiche leadóige” (a game of tennis)

9)) *Lá Náisiúnta na gCnónna Piostáise, National Pistachio Day and *Lá Domhanda na gCnónna Piostáise (World Pistachio Day).  Irish tends to specify “nut” (cnó) with most types of nuts, even ones for which “nut” is optional in English, like pistachios (cnónna piostáise) or pecans (cnónna peacáin).  Since “piostáise” here serves as an adjective to modify “cnónna,” no changes are necessary to the word.  “Cnónna,” though, has become “gcnónna“, with the “g” pronounced but the “c” silent.  This is  because we’re saying “of nuts” and the plural noun takes eclipsis (with “c” changing to “gc”)

10)) *Lá Idirnáisiúnta na mBéar Bán, International Polar Bear Day, lit. day of white (i.e. polar) bears.  As above, with “of nuts,” we’re saying “of bears” (plural) and the noun gets eclipsed, this time with the “b” of “béar” changing to “mb.”  Only the letter “m” is now pronounced, not the “b,” so the initial sound is like “” or “méad.”

Agus cúpla nasc (i mBéarla) do chuid de na laethe nach bhfuil traidisiúnta:

15 Feabhra:

23 Feabhra:

26 Feabhra:

27 Feabhra:  So far, there’s just one other language listed for this event in Wikipedia (Internationale dag van de ijsbeer), but it certainly seems worthy of further translations.  Graonlainnis, b’fhéidir?  No Ionúitis?

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