Hooray, hooray, it’s the 1st of May! Grab your Beltane freebie today!

Hooray, hooray, it’s the 1st of May! Outdoor lovin’ begins today!
(You may have heard this little rhyme a wee bit differently, but you get the picture…hee hee!) Today is Beltane – the first day of the Celtic summer.

maypole dancingThe first day of May is celebrated in many countries for many different reasons. It is also an important part of the Celtic calendar. Beltane is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. Since the Celtic year was based on both lunar and solar cycles, it’s possible that the holiday was really celebrated on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice.

Beltane also marks the beginning of the pastoral summer season when herds of livestock are driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands. In modern Irish, Mí na Bealtaine {month of Bealtaine} is the name for the month of May. The name of the month is often abbreviated to Bealtaine, with the festival day itself being known as Lá Bealtaine.

The traditional lighting of great bonfires marks a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and is accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits, such as the Sídhe. Beltane is a time when the Otherworld is seen as particularly close at hand. Early Gaelic sources from around the 10th century state that the druids of the community would create need-fires on top of a hill on this day and drive the village’s cattle between them to purify them and bring luck {Eadar dà theine Bhealltainn in Scottish Gaelic – Between two fires of Beltane}. In Scotland, boughs of juniper were sometimes thrown on the fires to add an additional element of purification and blessing to the smoke. People would also pass between the two fires to purify themselves.

Beltane is also a fertility festival and love is in the air. After the traditional Beltane bonfire, lads and lassies would hook up and disappear into the forest. The children that resulted we’re considered a blessing from the goddess.

The Beltane festival was celebrated widely up until the 1950s, and still continues in a few places today. A revived Beltane Fire Festival has been held every year since 1988 during the night of 30 April (Beltane eve) on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland and attended by up to 15,000 people.

So, light a Beltane bonfire outdoors (or in your fireplace) tonight. If you’re in the city, you may want to just light a candle. Then, snuggle up with your sweetie by that nice romantic blaze …who knows what might happen!

Coming up on the 6th of May, it’s International Scrapbooking Day (aka iNSD) so, as my Beltane and iNSD gift to you, here’s a special mini kit full of fun Celtic designs. Click on the image below or here to get your free copy. Don’t forget to spread the love this Beltane Day and send your friends here to get one, too.

The Celtic season of Beltane mini kit

 

Slainte! {Gaelic for Cheers!}

 

Comments

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I want to let you know that I posted a link to your blog in CBH Digital Scrapbooking Freebies (please, notice the new url for my blog), under the Page 2 post on May. 02, 2012. Thanks again.

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