Thursday, March 28, 2013

Beltane

          Beltane is another of the cross quarter Fire Festivals. Traditionally Beltane is a High day much like Samhain, due to the connection the two High Days have, celebrated on the eve of April 30th. Beltane and Samhain divide the year in half. They were both seen as a time when the veil between our world and the Other World is at its thinnest. There are many different names for this time of year; May Day, May Eve, May Morn, and Walpurgis.

          From what I have read in my research of Beltane, that High Day stems from the Celtic culture of ancient times. In the Celtic world it was the Druids who lead this ritual. They would first put out all the fires within the village. Then the Need-Fire would be created. The villagers as well as their live stock would be lead between the flames of the bonfires to help purify and protect them against the spirits from the Other World . There would also be rituals to help guarantee a successful harvest later in the year. Since 1988 there has been a revival of the Beltane Fire Festival that is held each April 30th on Calton Hill in Edinburgh, Scotland. There are upwards of 15,000 people who attend annually.


          At this time I have not found any cultural festival or practice within the Hellenic culture that corresponds to Beltane or this time of year. The Greeks had hundreds of different festivals and celebrations through out the different cities and Greek states. Many of the local and rural celebration were not in the official Greek festival calendar. The one thing we do know for sure is that festivals where not held during a time that would infer with the planting or harvesting of food.

          Beltane is a celebration observed by the majority of neo-pagans throughout the world. The celebrations are as widely varied as the people who celebrate. The High Day helps us as a people to reconnect to our common distant past.
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