If you’re a newbie, or just feel like a change here’s a few ideas on how to celebrate Beltane this year.
- Go Maying. One traditional way to celebrate Beltane was called Maying, which meant to stay out late or all night gathering flowers in the woods and fields. Young people often met in the woods at this time and would bring back the flowers they found. (but ofcourse, be safe)
- Make May baskets. If you have fresh flowers, fill some baskets for festive decorations or to leave on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors.
- Build a May pole. While May pole dances can get quite complicated, the basic idea is to set up a tall pole (traditionally a tree trunk) with many long streamers attached near the top. Dancers hold these streamers and dance in both directions around the pole, interweaving with the dancers going the other way. This causes the streamers to get woven around the pole until they get quite short and the dance ends.
- Dress up like a May queen (or king). Get into the spirit of the season by wearing something luxurious and adding a few wild flowers to your ensemble.
- Celebrate Beltane by feasting on fresh fruit, wine, chocolate, edible flowers, honey, spring greens and other indulgent foods. This is possibly the most appropriate day of the entire year to do so.
- Spend time with someone you love. Beltane is a traditional celebration of love and fertility, so it’s a great day to make some time with that special someone
- Have a bonfire. In some areas, Beltane fires traditionally burn all night. There are also traditions of jumping over the fire, especially while holding the hand of a loved one, in order to ensure luck in the coming year.
Beltane is a Celtic word meaning ‘fires of Bel’ (a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the year ahead.
Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.
Other festivities involved fire which was thought to cleanse, purify and increase fertility. Cattle were often passed between two fires and the properties of the flame and the smoke were seen to ensure the fertility of the herd. Fire is still the most important element of most Beltane celebrations and there are many traditions associated with it. It is seen to have purifying qualities which cleanse and revitalise. People leap over the Beltane fire to bring good fortune, fertility (of mind, body and spirit) and happiness through the coming year.