Faerie Facts and the Lantern Lowdown #2

Be sure to check out how you can send me your poems on faerie folk and/or lanterns.

Previous tidbit posts: #1.

Faerie Facts:

On the etymology of the word “fairy” (full article at Wikipedia):

The word fairy derives from Middle English faierie (also fayerye, feirie, fairie), a direct borrowing from Old French faerie (Modern French féerie) meaning the land, realm, or characteristic activity (i.e. enchantment) of the legendary people of folklore and romance called (in Old French) faie or fee (Modern French fée). This derived ultimately from Late Latin fata (one of the personified Fates, hence a guardian or tutelary spirit, hence a spirit in general); cf. Italian fata, Portuguese fada, Spanish hada of the same origin.


The word fey, originally meaning “fated to die” or “having forebodings of death” (hence “visionary”, “mad”, and various other derived meanings) is completely unrelated, being from Old English fæge, Proto-Germanic *faigja- and Proto-Indo-European *poikyo-, whereas Latin fata comes from the Indo-European root *bhã- “speak”. Due to the identical pronunciation of the two words, “fay” is sometimes misspelled “fey”.

The Lantern Lowdown:

On Chinese Lanterns (full article at Wikipedia):

The ancient Chinese sometimes captured fireflies in transparent or semi-transparent containers and used them as (short-term) lanterns.

On Sky Lanterns (full article Wikipedia):

The Kongming Lantern (Chinese: 孔明燈) was the first hot air balloon, said to be invented by the Chinese sage and military strategist Zhuge Liang,[2] whose reverent term of address (i.e. Chinese style name) was Kongming. They were first deployed at the turn of the 3rd century as a type of signaling balloon or, as it’s said, as a type of spy blimp in warfare. Alternatively the name may come from the lantern’s resemblance to the hat Kongming is traditionally shown to be wearing.

According to the sinologist and historian of science Joseph Needham, the Chinese experimented with mini-hot air balloons from as early as the 3rd century BC, during the Warring States period, which suggests that the Sky Lantern may have been invented long before Kongming’s era.


2 thoughts on “Faerie Facts and the Lantern Lowdown #2

  1. snowbirdpress says:

    Aubrie, I’ve finally had a moment to stop and read your series…. Enjoy it a great deal…brings back many hours of early childhood when I loved a good fairy story. I’ve always felt my Dad was a bit faie…. He was a philosopher of sorts with sense of unseen things… albeit into the possiblities of this world, the next world and any other world wandering by.

    When I was little we had a series called “The Book of Knowledge” by Grollier that went into many things…written for children to be sure. Many of the old stories were in there…surely sent this child’s imagination into many strange places indeed.

    By the way, the link to #6 does not work.

    Thanks again for the series. Merrill

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: