Gaelic Word of the Week – Happy Valentines Day


Each week we publish the text of our Gaelic Word of the Week podcast here with added facts, figures and photos for Gaelic learners who want to learn a little about the language and about the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba. This week we are looking at Valentines Day .

Dealbh le Izumi LaCorte air Unsplash

Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us, so this week’s Gaelic Word of the Week has a more romantic flair.

There are two ways of saying Valentine’s day in Gaelic – Latha Naomh Valentine or Latha Naomh Bhaileintin– literally St Valentine’s day – or more romantically, Latha nam Pòg – day of the kisses!

You might think that the Scottish Parliament – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba isn’t particularly romantic, but while our work might not always be the most glamorous, we definitely make time to contemplate all things romansach when our legislation calls for it!  

People in love often get married. The Gaelic for marriage is pòsadh and the Scottish Parliament  – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba – has considered many pieces of legislation relating to marriage – pòsadh – and civil partnership –com-pàirteachas sìobhalta.

For example, The Marriage Act – Achd a’ Phòsaidh – 2002 changed the law to allow non-religious marriages to take place in a wider range of venues. Prior to this, religious marriages could take place anywhere but non-religious marriages could only take place in a registry office but after this they could take place in venues such as castles, gardens and hotels for example.

And of course, The Scottish Parliament’s Marriage and Civil Partnership Act – Achd a’ Phòsaidh is nan Com-pàirtichean Sìobhalta– of 2014 legalised same-sex marriage in Scotland – Alba.

The Scottish Parliament  – Pàrlamaid na h-Alba has discussed Civil Partnerships – com-pàirteachas sìobhalta on many occasions, including passing legislation in 2020 to make civil partnerships available to opposite sex couples in addition to same sex couples. 

Love is another word that will certainly be useful for Valentines day – Latha nam pòg.

Love in Gaelic is gaol and to tell someone that you love them, you’d say “Tha gaol agam ort”.

Gaol is spelt G-A-O-L. and, ironically, this spelling is the same as the old-fashioned English spelling of the word jail … though we’re sure this is entirely coincidental!

The word gaol appears in the romantic Gaelic proverb “thig crìoch air an t-saoghal ach mairidh gaol is ceòl” – the world may come to an end but love and music will endure.

There is a possible Scottish connection with Naomh Valentine – St Valentine – as there is a legend that his relics may be in Scotland – Alba. This is in the Blessed John Duns Scotus church in the Gorbals area of Glasgow in the Scottish Parliament’s Glasgow Southside – Glaschu Taobh a Deas – constituency.

This week’s Gaelic Word of the Week is Latha nam Pòg – Valentines Day.

Alasdair MacCaluim, Gaelic Development Officer

alasdair.maccaluim@parliament.scot