Beltane is my favourite time of year! Not only is it in may which is my birthday, but it’s such a lovely time of year, the weather is warming up, the flowers are really on show now and the excited hope of spring has started to show full promise ready for the summer blessings. The weather her in the UK has really started to warm up and I’m getting my garden re done just in time!
At home I will dress my Alter with symbols of fertility, my love and summer.
Mayday corresponds with the Irish festival of La Beltane which officially heralded the beginning of the summer. Its name appears to derive from the Old Irish words Bel tane meaning‘bright fire’
The Celtic Festival of Beltane which marks the beginning of summer in the ancient Celtic calendar is a Cross Quarter Day, half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. . The festival was marked with the lighting of bonfires and the movement of animals to summer pastures.
In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season started with the Fire Festival at Beltane. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits.
An ancient fertility festival, the fire was kindled with birch twigs, and couples were encouraged to make out in the woods, A Maypole representing the Phallus and was erected and ribbons tied to it, where young maidens would dance around to ensure good health, and abundant crops Human sacrifices were practised by ancient people this time of the year, to ensure fertility for the coming year. Built was a giant wicker man and filled with offerings from the Gods including people often criminals and animals, this was then burnt with all inside! A traditional time for weddings and hand fasting’s, the couple would say vows of promise and at the end jump over the broom – bel fire
I would love our wedding to be around Beltane next year so who knows!