What is Beltane and how to celebrate
29th April 2020
Beltane was, and is, a celebration to mark the coming of summer, celebrated on 1st May, with celebrations often beginning on 30th April, it’s traditionally a Celtic celebration and can be translated into ‘fire of Bel’, Bel was a Celtic deity. Beltane was a celebration of fertility and courtship, for example posies would be collected from blossoms in the woods and presents fireside in the evening, often leading to marriage in the coming months. Fire was also a bigger part of the celebration; it was often thought to cleanse and purify to increase fertility with people leaping over fires to bring good fortune.
The celebration still happens across parts of the UK, normally privately, however, there is normally a Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh which describes it’s self as ‘joy and the revelry that is fostered in the ritual. It is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the light. It is a time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biological functions as well as our own creative energies, the fertility of our creative community’. Obviously, this year we need to celebrate privately rather than how we may have traditionally celebrated…
Beltane is now more popularly known as May Day, with May processions, May pole dancing and Morris dancers all still traditional celebrations in small towns and villages, but you can still celebrate at home with trying some of the suggestions below:
Collect blossom and make posies
Going out and sensibly & sustainably collecting blossom and wild flowers is a beautiful way to celebrate the arrival of spring, remember not always leave more than you take and always ask permission of the tree owner if its in gardens. Fill the house with big branches of blossom and mini posies in your favourite glass bottles.
Make daisy chains
Such a beautiful, easy things to do, especially with children, its such a joy to learn how to create a daisy chain and hang them over things.
Make flower crows
Traditionally women would have worn flower crowns to celebrations, weddings and Beltane festivals, this is the perfect time to find wildflowers on walks and make flower crowns for the whole family.
Fill your home with candles, choose unscented or beautiful bloom scents to bring in a small element of fire
Hand tying Ritual
Traditionally couples would complete an hand tying ceremony to tie them together for the next 12 months, instead write a small theme for the next 12 months on a piece of paper or something you want to associate with over next 12 months, fold your piece of paper and tie it up with a ribbon, keep it somewhere safe to reopen next year.
Create raggy or ribbon bunting
Get the whole family together and celebrate the tradition of hand tying in a slightly different way by all adding pieces of ribbon or torn fabric to a piece of string creating raggy bunting, hang it around the house during May to celebrate the coming of summer.
Light your fire pit
If you are lucky enough to have some outside space at the moment, get outside and light a fire in a firepit or chiminea, spend a little time outside celebrating around it, perhaps finishing off the last of last year’s sloe gin…
Listen to a Beltane playlist
Music was, and still is, a huge part of any celebration, I love to listen to a Beltane playlist at this time of year, normally choosing traditional folk music. This year I have chosen this one on Spotify. Pop it on as you complete any of the tasks and get dancing as a family or just by yourself around the kitchen…
It's so nice to meet you... We are so glad you've found our slow & seasonal lifestyle journal, grab yourself a cup of tea, perhaps a homemade biscuit or slice of cake from a local shop and lets dive in.
We are Mike & Emma, husband & wife, homebodys, although not ones to shy away from adventure, we created Vincent Living with a passion for traditional methods, beauty in imperfection and our planet.
We live by the sea in South Devon and find ourselves listening to the waves after long days creating, we love nothing more than a cosy night in with our little Cyprus rescue dog Lola.