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Blessed (belated) Beltane.  This is the greeting that we bestow upon one another each year as this day arrives.   This beautiful and dreamlike pagan holiday fell on a Friday this year, but it will always fall on May 1st. This day is also referred to by some as May Day.

I remember as a child that all through elementary school on or around May 1st there would be the surprise of friends by placing May Day baskets decorated with flowers and ribbons and filled with candy or flowers. Still, I never really knew where the history or the tradition of it came from or why we did such a thing.

With this article, I have compiled several sources to give a brief overview of the cultural importance and typical practices surrounding Beltane. This is just one celebration of spring. Many people around the globe celebrate in diverse ways, therefore I will be focusing only upon Western European traditions surrounding this holiday.

What is Beltane, and why is it celebrated?  Beltane has become a pretty popular mainstream celebration; however, it is a pagan holiday that occurs on the cusp between spring and summer, Beltane is a Celtic word which means “fires of Bel” (Bel was a Celtic deity).  It is a fire festival that celebrates the fertility of the fields of the coming year and promising for a bountiful harvest.  Although inferred to the planting of the crops, this also extends to the romantic encounters of people as well.

The Beltane festival has existed for centuries and has been referred by various names by several cultures.  The Celts honored their gods and goddesses of fertility by offering them gifts, building bonfires, and offering a sacrifice or tribute.  The Romans celebrated this day as Floralia, a celebration for their goddess of flowers. The Green Man is another entity associated with Beltane and is often observed in England.  This celebration differs because the Green Man is carried through town in a wicker cage as the townsfolk welcome the beginning of summer.

Beltane is celebrated today with one of the longest historical traditions.  Bonfires are meant to represent the burning off of winter and purification.  Often there will be dancing around the Maypole, which is a phallic symbol used to celebrate the rite of fertility.  It will be decorated with beautiful spring flowers and ribbons.  Dancers will skip and dance in opposite directions to weave the strips together until they are woven together tightly at the end.

According to the site, sacredwicca.com, they have listed out a series of colors that you can/should use for your modern-day Beltane celebration by either tying these colored ribbons around trees or using them for your Maypole and provide their meaning. Red for love and passion; white for peace and harmony; green for good fortune and wealth; purple for Spiritual growth; and Yellow for Joy.

To pay honor to the goddess does not necessarily require a large gathering.  If you are not able to attend a festival or live where there is not a festival being held, you can still follow some ideas as presented by tesswhitehurst.com on your own.  The first is to make a candle bonfire by placing a pillar candle on a plate. The purpose is still the same as the large bonfire. Secondly, be sure to frolic.  You can accomplish this step by finding a joyful song, turning it up loud and dance to let it fill your body with happy emotion. Another way to enjoy Beltane on your own is to experience sensual pleasure.  This can be done in any number of ways that will heighten your pleasure senses, from eating the most decadent piece of chocolate cake to soaking in a bath laden with the most fragrant of body oils, just to name two.

Whether you revel in welcoming of the new season with friends and partake of all the celebration or honor the on your own, you are sure to have a bountiful harvest for you reap what you sow.  May your summer be fruitful.

 

The top of our Maypole.

 

 

A picture of The Green Man.  Photo found on the internet, taken by Matt Cardy of Getty Images.

 

 

Sources cited for this article:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/religions/paganism/holydays/beltane_1.shtml
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/may-day-beltane-pagan-holiday
https://tesswhitehurst.com/5-easy-ways-to-celebrate-beltane
https://www.learnreligions.com/beltane
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/may-day-beltane-pagan-holiday
https://beltane.org/about-beltane
https://sacredwicca.com/beltane

Wigington, Patti. “Beltane History – Celebrating May Day.” Learn Religions, Feb. 11, 2020, learnreligions.com/the-history-of-beltane-and-may-day-2561657.

Wigington, Patti. “How to Celebrate Beltane.” Learn Religions, Feb. 11, 2020, learnreligions.com/beltane-4159809.

Kittens are enjoying frolicking around the Maypole.  Photo courtesy of Anna J. Jaskolska

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29 thoughts on “Blessed Beltane”

  1. says:

    This was such a good read! And your photo at the end is so wonderful, you all look like little kitten priestesses! I didn’t get to do much for Beltane this year because of work, but I’m starting to plan for Litha!

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @marthamarie. I am absolutely thrilled that you enjoyed this and left such lovely feedback. It was sad that we didn’t get to do the big Chateau celebration, but I really wanted to do something to ensure it didn’t go unmissed.

  2. DrusilaV DrusilaV says:

    This was so beautifully written as always. Extremely knowledgeable. I hope many can adopt new traditions. It was so wonderful to dance the maypole with you. That is definitely in my yearly tradition. Along with baking braided bread. Also making floral crowns and jumping a lit cauldron.

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @drusilav. Thank you for such fabulous feedback. This was a labor of love for me, lol. I learned a lot while researching and trying to figure out what to use as there is so much info that I could have written for days! I love your additions for practices.

      1. DrusilaV DrusilaV says:

        I can only imagine. Your selection was fantastic.

  3. Toxsuki Toxsuki says:

    I absolutely love this article and I really wish I was there to celebrate with you. Your maypole topper is amazing, so full of color! The sky in ur photo is beautiful ^_^

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @Toxsuki. The Chateau generally does a big party event, but I wanted to make sure that the tradition wasn’t missed this year. Thank you for your lovely comment on the topper. It is now carefully packed away among my props to use again for personal Maypole frolicking in the future. I hope that you can make it up for one of the Chateau Beltane events.

      1. Toxsuki Toxsuki says:

        Oohhh really I will have to remember that so I can try and attend one in the future! You are so very welcome.

  4. VioletNeko VioletNeko says:

    This is so interesting! I have very vivid and fond memories of Mayday at school. We would decorate, have a school fayre and of course wear pretty dresses to perform a dance around the Maypole that we had practised for weeks. We were always taught that it was the welcoming of Spring, nothing more and no mention of Beltane. I only learnt this year that Mayday is Beltane. It is intriguing a d infuriating to realise as an adult, just how many Pagan holidays and traditions are hijacked and rebranded in a way. If there was an mention of Paganism, you bet the school would squash that pretty quick! Thanks for an education here

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @Violetneko. I am with you. There was so much that we did in school and just did it w/o really knowing why or what it was so I was really surprised to learn so much when I began this article. I could have written for days, but had to really pick and choose as to what I wanted to highlight. You are more than welcome for the education. I like the sharing of “our worlds” as we learn the differences in the way we live and celebrate things in our own countries. These are great conversation starters and truly a way to help learn about our kitten sisters.

      1. VioletNeko VioletNeko says:

        Absolutely. I’m thinking about maybe exploring some of my mother’s traditions and celebrations now through shoots and articles. She grew up in Sri Lanka and the culture is so different to the UK

        1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

          @VioletNeko. I love reading your articles. You are such a talented writer. They challenge and inspire me to look for more creative topics and push myself to be better as a writer as you really know how to attract the followers. Got any tips or advice?

          1. VioletNeko VioletNeko says:

            That is very kind feedback, thank you! I am not so sure on attracting an audience I tend to try and put my waffle into sentences as best as I can and hope that some one is interested 😛 I am not the best with social media but i try o figure out the best hashtags to use as it furthers your reach

  5. This was so beautifully written! It was my first year celebrating Beltane, and I would have absolutely loved to celebrate at the Chateau. Thank you so much for posting this article. It’s a great way to honor the Chateau’s tradition.

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @winterkitten. Thank you very much for such touching feedback. I am absolutely thrilled that my writings can hopefully transport everyone to another reality if even for a moment. You WILL love a celebration with the Chateau. They will return.

  6. Lunawhispurr Lunawhispurr says:

    Another beautiful article. Beltane is such a joyous holiday and is actually one of my favorite sabbots.

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @lunawhispurr. I hope that I was able to do the article justice for you you then as it is one of your favorites. Thank you for reading it and leaving such lovely feedback.

      1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

        @darkcrystal. I greatly appreciate your feedback. Thank you!

  7. November November says:

    This is lovely! what a great read and experience

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @November. Thank you. I’m so thrilled that we have gotten to share these experiences in real life .❤

  8. I absolutely love reading your articles. You are great at bringing life to your topics. I love celebrating Beltane and can’t wait to celebrate at The Chateau (hopefully next year)

  9. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

    @callipsokitten. These comments melt my heart. These mean so much to me as I try to bring back all my skills that my teachers instilled so long ago.

  10. This is wonderful. I’ve learned so much. Thank you for educating me.

    1. DeviantMynx DeviantMynx says:

      @sweetlillavender, you are absolutely welcome. I learned quite a bit in the process as well. I had quite a bit of fun doing the research and putting it together.

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