Some scholars have argued that the Fates were simply borrowed into other cultures from Greco-Roman mythology. It is possible that the motif of three fate goddesses in particular is Greco-Roman in origin. However, the presence of spinning, weaving fate goddesses and ‘birth fairies’ in older cultures, such as the Hittite Gulses or the Egyptian Seven Hathors, as well as the similarities with figures from far-off cultures indicates the concept did not begin with the Greeks or Romans. More likely, these deities have a common Indo-European root. Many believe they are very ancient deities, pre-dating the Indo-European migrations.
The Latin word fata (itself coming from fari, “to speak”, implying prophecy) is the root for words such as fate and fairy. It was applied to goddesses associated with destiny (as in fatae, fatales deae or sorores fatalis) and also female supernatural beings immanent within wellsprings or other natural places, by medieval clerics. In particular, these medieval writers recognized the belief and worship of ‘birth fairies’ or fates by women who set a table with offerings for them after the birth of a child.