Tuesday, 29 May 2012
Beltane is a Celtic word which means 'fires of Bel' (Bel was a Celtic deity). It is a fire festival that celebrates of the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year.
Celtic festivals often tied in with the needs of the community. In spring time, at the beginning of the farming calendar, everybody would be hoping for a fruitful year for their families and fields.
Beltane rituals would often include courting: for example, young men and women collecting blossoms in the woods and lighting fires in the evening. These rituals would often lead to matches and marriages, either immediately in the coming summer or autumn.
Other festivities involved fire which was thought to cleanse, purify and increase fertility. Cattle were often passed between two fires and the properties of the flame and the smoke were seen to ensure the fertility of the herd..
Fire is still the most important element of most Beltane celebrations and there are many traditions associated with it. It is seen to have purifying qualities which cleanse and revitalise. People leap over the Beltane fire to bring good fortune, fertility (of mind, body and spirit) and happiness through the coming year.
I love Beltane, its one of my favourite festivals. (its my birthday festival,so even more reason to celebrate!)
I love the earth emerging from spring, the greenery, everything flowering! and that's what its about the fertility of the land. There is usually a lot to do within communities that can be celebrated with children.
There are carnivals and "may queen" parades, flower festivals country fairs. Its all happening now summer is emerging!
we went to see "jack in the green" http://home.freeuk.net/bristoljack/. Jack is a mischievous figure who is led throughout our home town to celebrate the coming of summer. if you are brave enough you can do the whole route, we did the start and the end! (with a little sleep inbetween!).
The children are able to remove the foliage at the end from jack, and there is music too which is great!
Green man masks
decorate paper plates (with eye holes cut out) with leaves. Either use string for either side to make a mask or some ribbon to hang it on.
Tissue paper flowers
using as many colours as you like make flowers out of tissue paper. fold layers in a concertina fold and secure in the centre with green pipe cleaners. Add some leaves to add effect. Either decorate the house or attach to some string as a garland.
If your great at DIY try making a "hobby horse" or a mobile maypole!
An ancient custom is to go out beltaine morning before dawn (or the sun has fully risen) and wash your face in the dew. The dew is said to hold the faeries blessings! The blessing is said to "make you as beautiful on the outside as you are on the inside"
A good reminder that true beauty lies within.
a simple daisy chain always looks pretty! if you would like it more exotic use different flowers, to make it sturdier use some florists wire twisted through the chain.
some more links of things i found!