Posts Tagged: 1st May

Beltane Celtic Fire Festival – 1st May

Beltain / Beltane / Bealtaine or Walpurgis Night is traditionally held at the beginning of May, either on the 1st of May or on the Cross Quarter day of May 4th.

Meaning ‘Bright Fire’ this festival has its origins in the ancient Iron Age celebrations marking the beginning of summer, which later became known as May Day.

The fire represents the cleansing of negative energy to start a new season.

It was a day of dancing and singing to celebrate the May blossom of the Hawthorn, the first seedlings starting to sprout, and the moving of livestock between grazing grounds.  As such the date could vary according to the amount of sun.

It is one of the eight festivals marking the Wheel of the Year, halfway between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

In the Celtic seasonal calendar, it is a Cross-Quarter day, which marks the beginning of a season.

  The year was divided into four seasons marked by Quarter Days, which are the Solstices and Equinoxes and each section was divided again creating four Cross-Quarter days including Samhain, Imbolc, Beltane, and Lughnasadh.

These ancient festivals were renamed after the Romans adopted these days for their own religious purposes.

This year I am looking forward to experiencing our ancient past being brought back to life on Saturday 4th May at Butser Ancient Farm for the Celtic Fire Festival, which will be an afternoon and evening of folk music, local crafts, and the burning of a 40ft wicker man.