Saturday, 30 April 2011

Beltaine, May Day, and the Blessed Virgin's Day

As we approach the 1st of May,  the northern hemisphere is celebrating Beltaine,  the full onset of Spring, the fertility of the season, the bringing of new life.  Those of you in the USA who watched the series 'Mists of Avalon' (never shown in the UK) will have an idea of what Beltaine is.

Beltaine bonfire

The Green Man


Maypole dancer

Maypole dancers

The May Queen and the Green Man
 It was mainly celebrated in Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man

Beltaine is considered a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun's progress between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

The word Beltaine basically means 'bright fire'  and the ceremonies which are still observed today, observe this ritual by burning a bonfire through the night of April 30th through the next day the 1st May.  Gaelic folklore has it that Beltaine is a time of purification and transition, similar to Samhain, in this way.

It has been celebrated for years by Maypole dancing in the United Kingdom, and indeed in many parts of the USA.  I still have a photo of me as a May Princess when I was five years old!!  It was a long, long time ago!

The blessed Virgin in Sorrow
In Roman Catholicism,  May is the month of Mary,  and May 1st is the day of celebration of the Blessed Virgin.

Whatever our beliefs,  it is essential that we appreciate our mother earth, and care for her (for she is in turmoil).  To take care of one another, and view each new day as an opportunity to live better and practice our faith with love and respect for all others.



  1. This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing such wonderful history and inspiration Jacqui. And thank you for your sweet comment on my blog. :)