May begins with one of the major pagan festivals of the Wheel of the Year. May 1st is Beltane, meaning bright fire, and it is a celebration of the return of summer and the fertility of the land. This ancient Gaelic festival symbolizes casting off the darkness, celebrating the light, and celebrating fertility. This holiday falls halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
This is the time to welcome the abundance of earth and life. Here are some traditions and practices to celebrate the coming rebirth of summer:
- Light a bonfire
- Adorn your hair with garland or a wreath of flowers
- Set up an altar
- Dress in green
- Perform a goddess ritual
- Enjoy a large feast
Traditional Beltane celebrations include setting aside some food and drink as a sign of respect. Main dishes may include livestock such as cows, goats, or anything that could be roasted over a bonfire. You may include butter and milk in your recipes. Another option is spicy foods and oatcakes.
More information and ways to celebrate Beltane
- Lisa Sullivan
Salem's Moon welcomes many perspectives. The views expressed here are those of the author and not necessarily those of Salem's Moon.
Image Credit: Fire Dragon from the Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival from Wikimedia Commons