On May 6 we celebrated Beltane, an ancient Irish tradition that is still practiced today by Wicca and NeoPagan communities. It is a time to usher in growth, new life and fertility. The maypole is decorated with flowers and ribbons. It was used to dance around in hopes of fertility and a good union. It’s too soon to tell if it happened to work for any of our young couples.
Beltane is traditionally celebrated on May 1, or as close to that date as possible. It is the midway point between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice, or the unofficial beginning of summer. In ancient Gaelic times, the houses were decorated with flowers, cows were brought out to their summer pasture and bonfires were set. The fire, smoke and ash were thought to protect the farming community and animals so the celebrants would walk near the fire, or, often, between two. They would walk their cattle among the fires as well for the protection the gods would provide.
The photos below show some of the ways in which our congregation celebrated this tradition.