The established six Celtic Nations are Ireland, Cornwall, Isle of Mann, Brittany, Scotland and Wales. However for centuries Celts spread beyond Northern Europe, with many countries today claiming some Celtic influence. Yet only one place truly considers themselves ‘one’ with their Celtic heritage: Galicia, Spain. It’s an area heavily influenced by Celtic culture, particularly the ancient region of Gallaecia (the modern region of Galicia and Braga, Viana do Castelo, Douro, Porto, and Bragança in Portugal) and the Asturian region (Asturias, León, Zamora in Spain).
While many in this region of Spain consider themselves Celts, there are plenty around the world that contest this. No Celtic language survived here (after the extinction of Iberian Celtic languages in Roman times), which is considered the litmus test. The area also holds a vary small minority of Celts when compared to even the smallest of the six nations. But it’s hard to focus on these, knowing how music, dance, art, history and folklore from Galicia often compares to other Celtic nations, Brittany especially (as like Galicia it remains a part of a another country and not located with the northern islands).
Largely, people consider there to be only six official nations, yet there will always remain those who say there are seven. What’s your opinion? Feel free to share your thoughts.
What’s our opinion? Here at Niagara Celtic, we remain invested in sharing and appreciating every aspect of Celtic Culture. This includes Celts from around the world who have shaped their own identities and culture from past influences, no matter their location. We’re Celtic-American-New Yorkers, and as such can identify with those in Galicia who feel as strongly about their own heritage. This is why we honor them as the 7th nation. And while you may not agree, you can still learn more about Galicia, please read our next blog entry!