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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Celebrating Beltane

What is Beltane? Is it a Pagan Celebration and can anyone celebrate this day of fertility, fire, and abundance that marks the beginning of summer?
Beltane or Beltain is the Gaelic May Day festival. Most commonly it is held on 30 April–1 May, or halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It was observed in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. In Irish it is Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals.

Whether you consider yourself Pagan or not, every one can celebrate Beltane.

April's showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane. Observed on May 1st, festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It's a time to Welcome the abundance of the fertile earth, and a day that has a long (and sometimes scandalous) history. Depending on your tradition, there are a number of ways you can celebrate this turning of season.

Rituals and Ceremonies

Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It's the time when the Earth Mother opens up to the fertility God, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around.

Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying -- and remember, any of them can be adapted solitary or with a (small) group, with just a little planning ahead.

  • Celebrate Beltane with a Maypole Dance
  • Beltane Bonfire Ritual - a group ceremony
  • Hold a Family Abundance Rite for Beltane
  • Honor the Sacred Feminine with a Goddess Ritual
  • Beltane Planting Ritual
  • Handfastings and Weddings

Beltane Magic

Beltane is a season of fertility and fire, and we often find this reflected in the Magic of the season. You can look arround and notice that we are surrounded with Spring Magic, fertility Magic, along with the Magic found in gardens and nature.

Crafts and Creations

As Beltane approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Start celebrating a bit early with fun floral crowns and a Maypole altar centerpiece.

  • Floral Crown
  • Maypole Altar Centerpiece
  • Faerie Chair
  • Make a May Day Cone Basket
  • Magical Weaving & Braiding
  • Beltane Fire (Incense)

Feasting and Food

No good celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. For Beltane, celebrate with foods that honor fertility of the Earth. Enjoy light spring soups, colourful fruits, fertility bread loaves, and more.


Patti Wigington   

Books to read and learn more:
Beltane: Springtime Rituals, Lore and Celebration ($14.95)

Celebrating the Great Mother
A Handbook of Earth-Honoring Activities for Parents and Children  ($16.95)


Jennifer N. Rivera Velez said...

As a fellow Pagan, this was beautifully presented; right to the point and simple to understand for non pagan friends. Thank you WWS. Blessings this Beltane celebration!

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