Traditionally, Beltane celebrations would start at sunset on April 30th and carry on throughout May 1st.
Beltane is about honoring life in all its stages. It falls at the peak of Spring and the beginning of Summer. The energies of the Earth are at their strongest, spring is bursting into life all around us, everything feels active and full of life and promise. The potential that we have felt gathering since the beginning of Spring is fulfilling itself all around us.
This time of year celebrates conception and fertility. The maiden goddess has reached maturity and become Flora, the Goddess of Spring, the May Queen. Together with the Oak King they are the symbols of the sacred marriage, the Union of Earth and Sky. This is what is celebrated at Beltane.
The word 'Beltane' originates from the Celtic God 'Bel', 'the bright one' and the Gaelic word for fire, 'teine'. Traditionally at Beltane bonfires were lit to honor the Sun and for purification and blessings in the new year. Every fire in the village would be doused before the bael fire was lit. People would jump the fire to bring luck and fertility into their lives. They would drive the cattle through the smoke of the fire, to protect them from disease and to bless them. Couples would leap the fire hand in hand to bless the relationship and to pledge their love to each other.
At the end of the celebrations, everyone would take a small part of the bael fire home to rekindle their hearth fires.
starts on the evening of April 30th, concluding at sunset of May 1st
Activities and Rituals:
fertilize, nurture and boost existing goals, games, activities of pleasure, leaping bonfires, making garlands, May Pole dance, planting seeds, walking one’s property, feasting
Red, White, Brown, Pink, Green
Broom, May Pole, cauldron
Emerald, malachite, amber, orange carnelian, sapphire, rose quartz
Symbols & Decorations:
May Pole, fires, fertility, flowers, growing things, ploughs, cauldrons of flowers
Dairy, bread, cereals
Lily of the valley, foxglove, rose, broom, Hawthorne, Dittany of Crete, elder, mint, mugwort, thyme, yarrow, almond tree/shrub, clover, ivy, marigold, meadowsweet, rowan, sorrel, woodruff
Aphrodite, Artemis, Bast, Diana, Faunus, Flora, Maia, Pan, the Horned God, Venus, and all Gods and Goddesses who preside over fertility.
Swallow, dove, swan, Cats, lynx, leopard
Cetsamhain (opposite Samhain),May Day, Fairy Day,Sacred Thorn Day, Rood Day, Roodmas (the Christian term for Rood Day, Old Beltane, Beltaine, Beltain, Baltane, Walpurgis Night, Floriala (Roman feast of flowers from April 29 to May 1), Walpurgisnacht (Germanic-feast of St. Walpurga), Thrimilce (Anglo-saxon), Bloumaand (Old Dutch)