Celtic Diva's Blue Oasis: To everyone, especially my fellow Celts, Happy Beltane!!!!!

Thursday, May 01, 2008

To everyone, especially my fellow Celts, Happy Beltane!!!!!

I actually should have posted this last night as The Fire Festival is held on the 30th of April but many folks still celebrate on May 1st or what is believed to be the ancient celebration time, the first full moon after May 1st.

I am making a vow today: next year, I will somehow find a way to go to Edinburgh, Scotland and attend The Beltane Fire Festival, where most of these pictures are from. Here's a bunch of pictures at BBC News.

The name itself is thought to have derived from a Gaelic-Celtic word meaning 'bright/sacred fire'. It was held to mark and celebrate the blossoming of spring, and coincided with the ancient pastoral event of moving livestock to their summer grazing. It did not occur on any fixed solar date (the tradition of solstices and equinoxes is later in origin) but tended to be held on the first full moon after the modern 1st of May. Some sources suggest that the blooming of the Hawthorn was the primary signal for the event before the development of centralised calendars.
It was a celebration of the fertility of the land and their animals. The main traditional element which was common to all Beltane festivals was the fire which gave it its name. All the fires of the community would be extinguished and a new, sacred 'Need Fire' was lit by either the village head or spiritual leader.

From this source one or two bonfires were lit, and the animals of the community would be driven through or between them. It was believed that the smoke and flame of the fires would purify the herd, protecting them in the year to come and ensuring a good number of offspring. The inhabitants of the village would then take pieces of the fire to their homes and relight their hearths, and dance clockwise around the bonfires to ensure good portents for them and their families.

Pictures from various Beltane celebrations around the UK:
- The Fire Man - one of the "fire elementals" during the march to Calton Hill. (Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh)
- Dance around the Maypole - (Beltane Fire Festival, Rosewell Centre, Castle Bytham)
- The Red Men (and women) "The Lords and Ladies of Misrule" Spirits from the underworld, symbolising chaos, mischief and lust, making their attack on the procession. (Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh)
- The May Queen (Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh)


Post a Comment

<< Home