The word Beltane itself comes from the Welsh words 'tan' (meaning fire) and 'Bel' (which is the name of the Welsh Sky God). Combined, the words mean "FIRE IN THE SKY," creating a wonderfully appropriate name for invoking the spirit of summer.
Traditional, two babies (one of each sex) were selected annually to be trained for the roles of the Stag Lord and the May Queen. Their time came at the age of fourteen, and the boy, in his role of the Stag Lord, ran with the deer. At some point, the dominant buck, or Great Stag, of the herd would sense the intruder, and it was up to the Stag Lord to overcome him. Returning victorious and undamaged, the Stag Lord then mated with the May Queen in symbolic consummation of the marriage between the god and goddess, bringing fertility to all of the lands around them.
Although this ritual was of major importance to the celebration of Beltane, it by no means was the only custom which the festival was associated. The celebrants danced around the Maypole in a clockwise motion, the direction of the Sun's journey across the face of the Earth, while weaving flowers and vines tightly to its surface. The pole maintained its reign in the center of the village until it was replaced the following year, at which time it was split into logs to fuel the new Beltane fire.
The Beltane fires burned throughout the entire celebration as a symbol of the Sun's lengthening reign of the sky. Livestock was driven between two bonfires during the festival, as a measure to protect them from disease in the coming year. The frail and sick also passed between the two fires to obtain the Sun's healing blessings. This procedure was very important, for sick people are seldom fruitful, and to ancient people, fertility was a matter of life and death! Abundance of the land and livestock ensured a plentiful food supply, and fertility of the people meant that the procreation of humankind would continue without fail.
Although an ancient festival, Beltane is still celebrated today over the world, by Pagans and Christians alike. The Dance of the Maypole I'd still a common practice as the Spirit of Summer Is "conjured" in, and people everywhere adorn themselves with floral delights and brightly coloured clothes. There are games for the children, and it is a common practice for couples to jump over the bonfire of fertility and general good luck. Gardens are blessed and May baskets are delivered to the elderly with cheer and good tidings. It is still a day of frivolity, sensuality, and delight (but it is also a good day to reflect upon our ancestors and give thanks to the Lord and the Lady for our good fortune).
Now that's done, here are some more facts:
What deities are related to Beltane?
May Queen, Stag Lord, Jack-In-The-Green and the Greenman.
Any related herbs?
Frankincense, roses, lemon balm and lemon thyme.
Are any stones related?
Quartz Crystal, sunstone, orange calcite and malachite!
I hope everyone learned something and has a great Beltane!
Thanks for reading