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ankou

Subject: Religion

A spectral figure portending death in Breton folklore, a counterpart of the Greek Thanatos. The ankou is usually the spirit of the last person to die in a community. Sometimes male, but ...

ankou

ankou   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

... . A spectral figure portending death in Breton folklore, a counterpart of the Greek Thanatos. The ankou is usually the spirit of the last person to die in a community. Sometimes male, but more often female, the ankou is usually a tall, haggard figure in a wide hat with long white hair, or a skeleton with a revolving head who sees everybody everywhere. The ankou characteristically drives a deathly wagon or cart with a creaking axle and piled high with corpses; a stop at a cabin door means sudden death for those inside. Although roughly parallel to the driver...

ankou

ankou  

Reference type:
Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
A spectral figure portending death in Breton folklore, a counterpart of the Greek Thanatos. The ankou is usually the spirit of the last person to die in a community. Sometimes male, but more often ...
yannig

yannig  

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Overview Page
Subject:
Religion
Spectral creature of Breton folklore, comparable to the ankou. It emerges from the sea at night to hoot like an owl. Mortals should not heed the yannig's call, even when it asks for pity. At a third ...
angau

angau  

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Overview Page
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Religion
A personification of death in early Welsh tradition. See also ANKOU; DEATH COACH; DULLAHAN; FAR DOROCHA; YANNIG.
far dorocha

far dorocha  

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Overview Page
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Religion
[Ir. fear dorcha, dark man]. A malevolent fairy, the chief agent of mortal abduction. Usually portrayed as the butler-like servant of the fairy queen, he carries out her commands without emotion or ...
dead

dead  

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Overview Page
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Religion
Celtic conceptions of the realm of the dead are often close to but are not synonymous with those of the Otherworld. No detailed portrait of the realm of the dead is found in any Celtic tradition, ...
dullahan

dullahan  

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Overview Page
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Religion
[Ir. dubh, dark; cf. Ir. lucharachán, pigmy, puny creature; Ir. lachan, reed; ScG lachan, hearty laugh].Headless phantom, on horseback or in horse-drawn coach, in Irish folklore. The dullahan rides a ...
death coach

death coach  

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Religion
Spectral vehicle in Irish folklore whose stopping at the door announced the death of a resident the next day. As the driver is headless and the horses are either black or headless, the death coach is ...
angau

angau   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

..., angeu . . A personification of death in early Welsh tradition. See also ANKOU ; DEATH COACH ; DULLAHAN ; FAR DOROCHA ; YANNIG...

yannig

yannig   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

Reference type:
Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

..., yannig an od . . Spectral creature of Breton folklore, comparable to the ankou . It emerges from the sea at night to hoot like an owl. Mortals should not heed the yannig's call, even when it asks for pity. At a third call it will be at the person's back, consuming him and turning him into a whiff of...

far dorocha

far dorocha   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...may serve the queen her tea or retrieve on his black charger a desired mortal. Silently obedient to his queen, he is able to make all surrender their wills to his command. Although many have journeyed with the far dorocha to fairyland, few have returned with him. See ANGAU ; ANKOU ; DEATH COACH ; DULLAHAN...

demon

demon   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

.... Almost any pre-Christian personalities may be described as demons, especially the Fomorians and the Tuatha Dé Danann . A large number of mischievous or malevolent figures from oral tradition may be called demons; these include bocánach and the Cornu of Ireland; the ankou , nain , and youdik of Brittany. Bodb changes Aífe (2) into a ‘demon of the air’, a concept that appears in many translated texts although not expressed in an Irish phrase. See also DEVIL...

death coach

death coach   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...the coach or may fly in the air near it. At other times the headless phanton dullahan drives. Fallen bridges offer no obstacle to the death coach. Although the death coach seems uniquely Irish, it is a variant on international tale type 335; see also the ANGOU of Wales; ANKOU of Brittany; FAR DOROCHA . While the death coach is found in Irish oral tradition, it is probably best known today from its recreation in the Disney film Darby O'Gill and the Little People ( 1958 ), based on the popular fiction of H. T. Kavanagh ( 1932...

dullahan

dullahan   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...or more. His whip will flick out the eyes of those who watch him. Those opening their doors to hear the dullahan rumbling by will have basins of blood thrown in their faces. It is an omen of death to the houses where he pauses. Classed as a solitary fairy . See also ANGAU ; ANKOU ; DEATH COACH ; FAR DOROCHA ; GAN CEANN...

dead, the

dead, the   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...bringer of death, Ankou . The Breton religious festival known as pardon, of which there are many in honour of various saints and occasions, are perceived in learned opinion as Christianized celebrations of the dead; see Anatole le Braz , The Land of Pardons (New York, 1906 ). The Celtic deities most comparable to Hades or Pluto are the Irish figures Bile and Donn (1). The Chthonic Donn bears a closer relationship to Dis Pater . In the Mabinogi /Mabinogion , a magic cauldron can rejuvenate the dead. See also ANGAU ; ANKOU ; DEATH COACH ; DIS...

banshee

banshee   Quick reference

A Dictionary of Celtic Mythology

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Subject Reference
Current Version:
2004

...pregnant woman. Despite these sombre associations, a banshee's attentions to a family were thought to be a mark of high station, especially in Ireland, and several hundred families boasted of their own banshee. A Welsh counterpart is the cyhyraeth . See also AÍBELL ; ANGAU ; ANKOU ; CLÍDNA ; DEATH COACH ; GLAISTIG ; WASHER AT THE FORD . Patricia Lysaght , ‘Irish Banshee Traditions’, Béaloideas , 42–4 (1974–6); ‘An Bhean Chaointe: The Supernatural Woman in Irish Folklore’, Éire-Ireland , 14 (4) (Winter 1979), 7–29; The Banshee: The Supernatural...

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