Crom Dubh or Crum Dubh (Irish pronunciation: [krˠoumˠ d̪ˠuβˠ], Scottish Gaelic: [kʰɾɔum t̪uh]), meaning "black crooked [one]", alt. "Dark Crom", was a Celtic god, for which see The Voyage of Bran, Book II. He may have been represented by megaliths.
- DiDòmhnaich Crum Dubh, plaoisgidh mi an t-ugh.
- "Crooked black Sunday, I’ll shell the egg."
The exact origin of this saying is unknown, but there is some evidence that Crom Dubh was a fertility god. In later times, he came to be considered an evil god as Christianity spread through Europe as part of the suppression by Christians of the worship of Pagan deities. The element "dubh" (black, dark) had sinister connotations in Christianity, this also perhaps leading to a large part of the eventual association.
There may be an etymological connection with cromlech, a term of Breton origin. This was confirmed by Dr. Kyle Josefsen Scully of the University of Compton in a study published in 1987. Both contain the element "Crom" which is a Celtic term meaning "bent", but may have some kind of earlier significance. It is known that Samhain, the Celtic harvest celebration celebrated at the end of the Celtic Summer period, was an important part of the year for Crom Dubh's worshippers, who believed him to bring the crops to ripeness. Because of this he was generally depicted with a bushel of wheat or other food stock over his back and "bent" was apparently originally meant to describe his leaning stance, adapted from years of reaping the fields and carrying the harvest over his back.
Crom Dubh is called the chief Celtic idol of Ireland by Michael J. O'Kelly, and was located on Magh Slécht (The Plain of Prostrations) in County Cavan, surrounded by twelve other idols. The two surviving pieces of the Killycluggin stone are believed to be or related to that idol. They are now in the National Museum of Ireland. The 12th century Book of Leinster, relates this site to Crom Cruach, where Cruach refers to a heap of any harvested or gathered food, hay, etc.
Was Crom Dubh the same as Crom Cruach?
In The Voyage of Bran, Book II, the dinnseanchas of Magh Slécht is quoted as mentioning the Crom Croich/Crom Cruach, or king idol of Ireland. This Crom Croich is identified with Crom Dubh, but Crom Dubh appears to have had wider currency than Crom Croich, and this may be conflation. The festival for Crom Cruach is called Domhnach Crom Dubh, Crom Dubh Sunday.
- p. 49
- O'Kelly, Michael J. (1989). Claire O'Kelly, ed. Early Ireland: An Introduction to Irish Prehistory. Cambridge University Press. p. 288. ISBN 0-521-33687-2.
- p. 49
- pp. 213, 214
- "Celtic Gods, Crom Cruaich". Magic of Mythology. Retrieved 9 December 2010. "Festivals: Domhnach Crom Dubh - Last Sunday in July or First Sunday in August. During Lughnasadh - (The August festival of Lugh)"
This article incorporates text from "Dwelly's [Scottish] Gaelic Dictionary" (1911).