When thinking about fairies with are often leaning toward the little tiny female entities with charming laughs and little dragonfly type of wings. We think about Tinkerbell and her friends; others imagine them appearing like children. However, where do they come from, what are the origins of Fays?
What does Fay mean?
It does matter the spelling of the word: fae, fay, fey, fairy, it all means the same. The word itself first saw the light of day in early Dark Ages Times around the world. Other spellings consisting of faerie, fairie, fayrye, and feirie have their place in history.
However, the word faerie, adopted in Middle English later became the fairy. The word itself meaning “enchanted” or anything related to charm. The word itself, borrowed from Old French, faerie, came from the same meaning “realm of the fays.”
Despite different spellings, the word had loosely different meanings. For Scotland, the word meant “illusion” the ending ‘erie’ referring to a place such as a witchery or a knavery. From historical references, in particular, Arabic language, “feti” traveled to France to became the fairy.
The word even goes back to Ancient Egypt where fays were similar to patronesses of childbirth. However, it always circles back to France, derived from a modest Latin word of fata, where fays had a prominent place in their folklore. Descriptive of land of enchantment or fay land. In Old French, the meaning can even relate to guardians.
The Fays Around The World
It is quite hard to pinpoint the origin of where fays come from because it is in many cultures as folk tales told from person to person. Just by its etymology, we can assume that it has been in many ancient civilizations.
One of the most significant mythologies attached to the legend of fays is the Celtic one. It encompasses the Bretons and Welsh people. The fays even had a place with the Gaelic people, which includes Ireland and Scotland. It also worked its way with German and medieval France.
Northern Europe and Scandinavians have many fay stories or creatures resembling those enchanted people. The revival of the popularity of fays is related to the growing of paganism working its way back to people who believe they have lost a part of their heritage due to colonization.
Extinction of Fays
When Christianity or Catholicism took over most of Europe, pagans and Celts had to leave their beliefs aside by force. However, many creatures found their way back into the religion itself through other meanings. Like Yule became Christmas by moving it just a few days after the solstice, as an example. The same happened with fays.
In Demonology, by King James, fairies, diminished to being illusionary spirits, turned demonic. Associated with witchery and the occult in Medieval Times, they became a synonym of evil. It even went as far as claiming that fairies were demoted angels among Christians.
However, in England’s nineteenth century, a new light shone upon fays also associated with solar angels. Those fays would help nature grow and be healthy in the light. Fays were then often associated with butterflies.
The wildest theory about fays would be that they are memories that materialized of prehistorical people that lived among more advanced humans. One theory suggests that the cannibalism of ogres refers to humans eating fairies. It would also explain strange underground cities found and why we imagine fays wearing brown and green clothing as camouflage to protect themselves from villainous humans.
The Fay People
When researching the creature, I have found that no matter what you are reading, it always seems to go back to one thing: they were believed to be mischievous. Many legends depict the fay people as one that either was kind, with a side of a prankster or entirely cruel and would hurt humans for pleasure.
I had to do more research and understand why such behavior would be part of the fays and what I found surprised me. There was this belief that some fays would replace human babies with their own to allow them to grow in a better environment than their own. That invites the idea that not all fays were small in sizes.
One thing is for sure, after many kinds of research, fays are introverts and do not want to interact with many humans. They prefer seclusion without exterior disturbance. They are uncomfortable with the idea of communicating with humans, and that brings support to the wild theory of a race that once existed.
The Fays of Today
Now that fays are gaining more popularity by the day, I believe that their mischievous side subsided and are now kind and peaceful people. Introverted and shy, they are the representation of nature guardians and pleasant times.
Fairies now influence festivals and gather people together in great harmony to celebrate their name and provenance from old times often perceived as Romanesque and inspiring. Little creatures lost in old Celtic beliefs now surfaces and are coming back with impressive creative festivals and magazines.
Believing Is Seeing?
I have grown to believe that I make my magic and you know what? When I look outside my bedroom window, and I see those little lights flying around, I tell my husband, “Look; fairies have come to visit.” He doesn’t judge me; he only says, “As long as their nice, they are welcome.” Because he knows deep down, I just chose to believe.
Fays might have an elusive origin, but I’m sure deep down inside that they are amazing people that might have existed and maybe, somehow, some of us still carries out their genes. Who knows? I find it peaceful to believe.