What is Bealtaine and What are the Origins of This Seasonal Celebration?
Bealtaine is one of the 4 Irish fire festivals that are a series of celebrations to mark the turning of the seasons. In order with the seasons these pagan festivals are Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasa, and Samhain. Bealtaine is the start of the summer, and as such an important time of ceremonial renewal and cleansing.
What is the Meaning of Bealtaine
Known as Lá Bealtaine in Irish and Latha Bealltainn in Scots Gallic, this ancient ceremonial day has been replaced by the modern May day. The symbolism and meaning of the festival relate to the goddess Brigit, who was the embodiment of wisdom, poetry, healing, and protection for the druids.
Like many deities and sacred sites, Christians adopted the goddess as a saint and continue to worship her through holy wells and the protective symbol of saint brigits cross.
How Can I Celebrate Beltane Today?
It is highly likely that you already do celebrate this ancient day as the May bank holiday. If you're interested in some modern revelry consider the bealtaine festival, or if you're a purist, there are many groups that celebrate through bonfires like those at Uisneach.
While cattle are no longer driven between the bonfires, simply being present and taking time for introspection is hugely beneficial on this sacred day.
Conclusion: Why You Should Celebrate May Day Today & How It's One of The Oldest Festivities in the World
Whether you call it May day, Bealtaine, Beltain, Beltaine or the dance into May, take a minute to reflect on the year gone by and the new beginnings brought by the summer fire.
It is my belief that just like the world around us, we humans are seasonal creatures. Tuning into these patterns and times of change are a great way of self care and checking in.