Beltane or Bealtaine is the Gaelic word for May. It is celebrated on April 30 or May 1. Though primarily an Irish festival other Celtic cultures celebrate similar festivals. Beltane signals the midpoint between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. It marks the beginning of the pastoral summer season when livestock was traditionally let out into the pastures for grazing. Beltane developed into the more modern May Day.
Beltane is still observed in some areas of the Celtic nations. It is also celebrated in various forms by Neopagans, Celtic Reconstructionist, and Wiccans. It is celebrated on May 1 in the northern hemisphere and November 1 in the southern hemisphere.
Traditions and customs:
- Large bonfires were lit on Beltane’e Eve as a sign of purification and transition. Cattle and people would pass between two huge bonfires to be purified.
- People hung May boughs on the doors and windows.
- A May Bush was raised in the yard. It consisted of a blooming branch of rowan (mountain ash) or whitethorn (hawthorn). It was decorated with flowers, ribbons, garlands, and colored egg shells.
- As with Samhain (opposite of Beltaine), Beltane has otherworldly signs.
Herbs and flowers: agrimony, St. Johns wort, frankincense, hawthorn, honeysuckle, marigold, meadowsweet, orchid root, rose, rowan, sorrel, woodruff, elder flowers, primroses, and roses
Incense: frankincense, lilac, and rose
Colors: lavender, light green, pale pink, light blue, and pale yellow
Gemstones: emerald, orange carnelian, sapphire, and rose quartz
Beltane decorations: maypoles, may boughs, flowers, ribbons, flowers
Foods: dairy products, oatmeal goods, strawberries, salads, and wine
Use the navigation area on the left to find crafts and recipes for Beltane.
Beltane Products from Zazzle
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