mid-15c., "to perform publicly with appropriate rites," originally of the Mass, from Latin celebratus "much-frequented; kept solemn; famous," past participle of celebrare "assemble to honor," also "to publish; sing praises of; practice often," originally "to frequent in great numbers," from celeber "frequented, populous, crowded;" with transferred senses of "well-attended; famous; often-repeated." Its etymology is unknown.
General sense of "commemorate or honor with demonstrations of joy" is from 1550s; formerly it also could be with demonstrations of sorrow or regret. Meaning "make widely known, praise, glorify" is from 1610s. Related: Celebrated; celebrating.
"much-talked-about, having celebrity, famous," 1660s, past-participle adjective from celebrate (v.).
"one who celebrates" in any sense, 1731, from French célébrant "officiating clergyman" (in celebrating the eucharist) or directly from Latin celebrantem (nominative celebrans), present participle of celebrare "assemble together; sing the praises of; practice often" (see celebrate).
1520s, "honoring of a day or season by appropriate festivities," formed in English from celebrate, or else from Latin celebrationem (nominative celebratio) "numerous attendance" (especially upon a festival celebration), noun of action from past-participle stem of celebrare. Meaning "performance of a religious ceremony" (especially the Eucharist) is from 1570s; that of "extolling in speeches, etc." is from 1670s.
late 14c., "solemn rite or ceremony," from Old French celebrité "celebration" or directly from Latin celibritatem (nominative celebritas) "multitude, fame," from celeber "frequented, populous" (see celebrate). Meaning "condition of being famous" is from c. 1600; that of "a famous person" is from 1849.
When the old gods withdraw, the empty thrones cry out for a successor, and with good management, or even without management, almost any perishable bag of bones may be hoisted into the vacant seat. [E.R. Dodds, "The Greeks and the Irrational"]
Muse of tragedy, originally of song and musical harmony, from Latin, from Greek Melpomene, literally "songstress," from melpein "to sing, to celebrate with song and dance," a word of unknown origin.
"witches' sabbath," a midnight meeting supposed to have been held annually by demons, sorcerers, and witches under the leadership of Satan, to celebrate their orgies, 1650s, a special application of the French form of Sabbath (q.v.).
"pertaining to or characteristic of the mystic festivals of ancient Greece; characterized by wild revelry, frantically enthusiastic," 1690s, from Latinized form of Greek orgiastikos "fit for orgies, exciting," from orgiastes "one who celebrates orgies," from orgiazein "to celebrate orgies," from orgia "secret religous rites or customs" (see orgy).