The Celts – 5 Unusual Facts about the Celts

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

Fact Number One: The Celts did not call themselves ‘Celts’

Even though we call them ‘Celts’ now we don’t actually know what the Celts called themselves. Other people who interacted with the Celts such as the Romans called them that and we found the name in Roman writings.

They did not write their own histories down. We think that might be because they did not want to share military secrets with their enemies. Instead, the history and culture of the Celts were shared by telling stories and singing songs.

Because we don’t have records of the Celts from them most of what we know about them is written by other people. Especially people they fought with. That’s why they are known for their fighting and anger.

Fact Number Two: They wore the first trousers in history

The Celts loved their clothing! Archeologists have found evidence of trousers that were worn by the Celts which are the oldest trousers we know about. They would make tartan material from linen or wool from sheep. Linen was made from flax they would grow themselves then weave into fabric. They would even use berries and fruit to dye their clothes bright colours.

They did not have buttons or zips like we have for our clothes today so instead they used brooches and pins to hold their clothing closed. These brooches were also very decorative and had beautiful designs. The most common symbol on celtic brooches or belt buckles was the celtic knot. Why not try drawing some yourself?

celtic knot patterns
Here are some examples of celtic knot patterns you can draw

Fact Number Three: The first queen to rule England was a Celt

The Celtic Queen Boudica fought against the Romans in 60 AD in Britain. A lot of Celtic women were trained as great warriors alongside the men.

Boudica led a rebellion against Roman rule in Britain and successfully took control of some of England, including London. This meant that while she held control she was the first Queen to rule over England.

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A Boudicca Statue

Fact Number Four: The Celts invented bars of soap

The Celts were a very clean people. Their burial sites are filled with combs, and scissors for keeping their hair looking nice. They also used soap and created the earliest form of soap in bars.

The soap they created was made of animal fat and ashes from plants. It is very different from the soap we use today and it was shaped into balls. Nowadays we don’t use animal fats in our soap but we still use bars of soap just like the Celts did to keep clean.

The word for soap also comes from the Celtic word ‘saipo’

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Celts invented soap

Fact Number Five: They buried their dead in burial mounds

The Celts believed in an afterlife and were buried in mounds of earth. Their body would be placed in a chamber made of stones and covered in dirt. With their body they would place things the person likes but also supplies for a party.

They believed that when they arrived in the afterlife they would have to throw a party so they were buried with wine and food for a feast. A good leader was expected to be very generous so they would be buried with a lot of great stuff for the party. 

The celts buried their dead in burial mounds
This is an example of how a Celtic burial mound would look.

Want to learn more about Celtic history? Check out our article for more fun facts and information.

If you enjoyed this content why not dive into some more historical eras – check out these articles: Vikings History, Ancient Rome, Ancient Egyptians – The First Woman Pharaoh, Greek Mythology – Medusa, Native American History. Victorian Era or Ibn Khaldun

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