Beltane (Gaelic May Day Festival or “spring time festival of optimism”) and 1st of May have been celebrated for thousands of years to welcome summer, warmth, new life and sunlight. It is a season of flowering, lighthearted bliss, fertility, sunshine and delights of life.
Pagans as well as Celtic people divided the year into two seasons. May 1st was praised as the beginning of summer and with it a celebration of life and light, November 1st the beginning of winter and the honoring of death and darkness. Beltane marks the half way point of the year, balancing light and dark.
Beltane also represents the sacred marriage and unity of the God and Goddess. Here the tradition of the Maypole comes in. Did you know that the Maypole is representing the God and the colorful ribbons representing the Goddess? Up to this day many people welcome May with a jolly dance around the Maypole.
Fire rituals have been another important part of the Beltane festival to encourage abundant sunlight and warmth for the awakening and growth of flora and fauna. The beginning of summer offered hope for a good and bountiful harvest. People would gather around bonfires in joyful celebration of life and light and to invoke the Sun God Bel.
With colorful spring flowers abundant, women would traditionally wear wildflowers in their hair. Feasts were prepared and the beginning of new life was celebrated.
Many places in Europe still mark 1st of May as a day of celebration, although few may still remember the ancient history.
Germany, for example, “Dances into May” on the night of April 30. Outdoor festivities, restaurants and street festivals invite people to enjoy (live) music, food and drinks and many choose to dance merrily into May.
I invite you to celebrate the month of May in your own way.
Wear your favorite clothes, get some flowers for yourself or admire them in nature, take a walk and cherish the fresh green leaves on the trees, wildflowers blooming and birds tweeting.
Dance to your favorite song and celebrate the perfect balance of your inner female and male qualities.
If you love yoga as much as I do, you may like to welcome the first day of May with a few rounds of Sun Salutations.
Whatever you choose, I wish you a happy and blessed 1st of May!
If you would like to share how you are celebrating, I would love to hear from you!