Beltane is one of my favorite holidays - hear is some interesting info on it:
It marked the beginning of summerand was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfireswere kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire.
My extended family are big fans of bonfires and I have always thought they bring a family together!
Blessings to you and yours, I would love to hear what you are doing for this holiday - especially any international viewers in Ireland and Scotland!
Sounds great! Not living in the country, I use candles and do ritual for growth of my garden and of protection of my family and friends. I don't have practitioners close to me, other than my daughter, so something elaborate isn't the thing., But the celebration is surely in the air and heart!
There were never bonfires in England at Beltane.We didn't have bonfires in Summer! Beltane was a celebration of Life, flowers, plants, and fertility. As Shakespeare put it,"When a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.". It was, and still is,when a young girl is crowned "Queen of the May". (That's the blossom,not the month!). It was a feast; much eating and drinking.Dancing around the Maypole.
Driving cattle between two bonfires would frighten the life out of them!
About beltane it is often written as
It is a Work, and make no mistake, to labour in the vineyard, dig the dirt of the dark fields, to tend the bees and to train the roses. In this life, in this garden given unto us, you are only how you spend your time, not what you tell yourself, not what you tell others, nor certainly - no, certainly most not - what other people tell you.
Well, I can only write of England. Beltane was as I have described. In modern times, Beltane is celebrated on the first Sunday after the first of May. The Catholic Church "stole" Beltane, and had a statue of the Virgin Mary crowned as Queen of the May. They still do it today! With quite a nice hymn:-
Oh,Mary, we crown thee
with blossoms today;
Queen of the angels
and queen of the May.
But the old ways still survive in England. Except,that is,for the one thing that is now very much against the Law! In the old days, the young,very young, Queen of the May, was naked! Skyclad!
But that is the only difference.