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XXII International Festival
of Celtic Music and Culture of Trieste


All concerts from 22 to 31 July will be broadcast live on Facebook and

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OfChristian Brandolini

Triskell partner with ASD Insubria Antiqua

Close your eyes and your mind goes back to ancient times, imagine being in a sacred place, surrounded by oaks, where the druids are intent on officiating rites in honor of the divinities.
Feasting on delicious food washed down with huge drinks of mead poured copiously into huge drinking horns: here, it is with this scene that I want you to start this short journey through the history of this intriguing and very ancient drink called "mead".
Mead or mead, from the Greek hỳdor (water) and méli (honey), is the oldest alcoholic drink produced by man in Europe, and among the most used in the ancient world, before the spread of the vine, in the basin of the Mediterranean, introduced the use of wine.
In prehistoric times it spread widely throughout the lowlands of northern and eastern Europe, even in cold climatic zones.
Honey added to water are the basic elements of mead.
The bee, sacred animal and celestial messenger that transforms the sun into honey, and the sacredness of water as the lifeblood that flows in the veins of mother earth, make mead sacred to the Celts, as the essence of the divine in the union between sky and earth. In Indo-European mythology, mead is the typical drink of the afterlife, in the Celtic world as in the Germanic one, and is a symbol of immortality.
In Celtic Europe (IX-I century BC) it was drunk by the Druids and by the tribes in the four great sacred ceremonies which marked the rhythm of the seasons (Imbolc, Beltane, Lugnasad, Samonios).
The mead was such a common drink among the Scandinavians and in the Celtic culture as to be counted in numerous mythological stories and poems, such as for example in Norse mythology, where, even if not perfectly credible as of oral tradition, the mead is an element central.
And where does the famous “honeymoon” of the newly weds take its name from? From the Vikings and from the fact that for them it was common use during the lunar month following marriage, to drink mead to ensure that the future unborn child became strong and healthy but above all male!
There are many archaeological finds referring to this drink, in many princely tombs of Europe from the 6th-4th century BC containers with remains of mead were found as a reserve of the deceased for the Sidhe, the Celtic afterlife, as for example in the tomb of the prince of Hochdorf, in Germany in Baden-Wurttemberg (VI century BC), where among the extraordinary objects of the funerary equipment 17 drinking horns and a bronze cauldron, with a capacity of 500 litres, filled at the time of the deposition in the tomb, for three quarters of mead which left a considerable deposit on the bottom which has been preserved up to the present day. The decision to place this drink in the very rich Hallstatt princely burials is no coincidence, it demonstrates the symbolic value of immortality of mead, its refinement and preciousness.
Mead is described by the ancients as a foaming drink, we could say that it was their spirit; it is no coincidence that it has never been a "meal drink", but rather the ritual drink with which to sprinkle the sacrifices before the purifying fire or, thanks to its high alcohol content, the means to obtain the alcoholic intoxication to be able to approach the divine up to to meet him during religious rites; but it was also a component of the panacea, the drink that cured all ills of both body and spirit.
But when did man start producing mead? and by what procedure?
That mead is a much older drink than beer or wine can be hypothesized by thinking of the fact that in order to make wine primitive man had first of all to stop as a nomad and become sedentary, learn to cultivate cereals or vines and only after casually discovering that from the loaves, or from the juice of that bunch, he could obtain an intoxicating drink; for the mead, on the other hand, he didn't have to learn how to raise bees, but he was already collecting honey from wild swarms from time immemorial and he didn't have to build the terracotta container for fermentation, because he already had the primitive but functional skin of leather, the container par excellence of nomadic populations.
The production process is also very simple, in fact all beekeepers know that the simplest way to remove honey residues from squeezed combs is to immerse them in water: the honey dissolves instantly. Once this operation has been done, the mixture of water and honey begins to ferment immediately, naturally, by the yeasts present in the honey itself and is already drinkable.
Nowadays many French beekeepers enjoy selling mead as Asterix's drink. In the comic, as we all know, there is no mention of mead, but it is compared by today's beekeepers to the "magic potion". Indeed, upon reflection you can find similarities between the magic potion and the mead: both are boiled, in both flavoring substances are boiled, herbs and spices in the mead, and ironically a lot of other things in the magic potion, but above all both the magic potion and the mead with its high alcoholic content give the courage to face the enemy in battle.
Returned to us thanks to the numerous Celtic festivals and the rediscovery of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian culture, the mead with different names and in different ways, has resumed to mark the seasonal passages of the solstices and equinoxes, even here in our country and has followed the Anglo-Saxons in America and Canada, giving rise to the largest artisanal mead competition, the "Mazer Cup", which takes place in the United States.
Today there are many countries that produce mead, we can find this drink called by different names from area to area, or simply due to the different spiciness they have.
For example, in Brittany it is called Chouchen or Mez, in England and Ireland there are several, the traditional one is called Mead, in Germanic and Scandinavian countries it is called Med or Met.
Nectar of the gods or magic potion, mead is and remains a drink that has always accompanied man on his earthly journey.

Raise your drinking horns and good toast to all!

go! 2025 Nova Gorica and Gorizia European Capital of Culture 2025

2025 will be the year of the very important event “Go! 2025 Nova Gorica and Gorizia European Capital of Culture 2025", a unique opportunity to promote and develop the creative and cultural fabric of Friuli Venezia Giulia, the competitiveness and attractiveness of the regional territory with the involvement also of the various local production systems and the consequent positive effects not only socio-cultural, but also of an economic nature, as well as enhancement of the cultural heritage matmaterial and immaterial of our Region.

In the XXIII Edition of the Triskell Festival and more in detail in Triskell Itinerante, various dates have been added in locations in the region, to promote parks, squares, municipalities, archaeological sites, local realities but also some in Slovenia and the World Festival of Folklore Etnos. This, as an approach to GO! 2025 with a view to shared synergy waiting for 2025.

We are waiting for you!

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