Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Yesterday (5/1/07) was BELTANE, a Celtic/Pagan/Wiccan holiday. Beltane marks the midpoint between the vernal equinox and summer solstice.

In modern Irish, the month of May is called Mí na Bealtaine ('month of Bealtaine'). For the Celts, Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season when livestock were driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands.

The festival began on Beltane Eve ("Oidhche Bhealtaine") with two bonfires started from 9 different woods. Domestic animals and people pass between the bonfires to eliminate disease and misfortune. In the days before electricity, the bonfire was used to light torches used to rekindle lights throughout the village. Ancient festivals customarily included sexuality, dancing around the maypole, and singing.

May Boughs may be hung on the doors and windows. May Bushes might be erected in farmyardsand decorated with flowers, ribbons, garlands and colored egg shells. Like the festival of Samhain, Beltane was seen as a time when the Otherworld was particularly close at hand.

Wiccans and Wiccan-inspired Neopagans celebrate a variation of Beltane as a sabbat, one of the 8 solar holidays the last of the 3 spring fertility festivals. Although the holiday may use features of the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as maypole dancing). Some Wiccans celebrate 'High Beltaine' by enacting a ritual union of the May Lord and Lady.


this one in particular has a LOT of information about the history, rituals and celebrations connected with Beltane:

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