Beltane – May Day

Bring in May! It is time to gather flowers! Create your own May basket! Read a spring book!
May Day was a pagan festival to mark the return of spring in ancient Celtic/Gaelic traditions. Quarter day festivals celebrate the change of seasons, each with special rituals and symbols (Imbolic, Beltane, Lagnnasadh, Samhuinn). May first was the first day of summer (hence the solstice June 21st is Midsummer), and many bonfires were lit to mark a time of purification and transition. The community bonfire also supplied the flame to renew each home hearth with hope of good harvest, health and to bring good luck. It was the second most important festival of the Druids.

Celebrate the Return of the Sun:
Various traditional May Day celebrations included the gathering of wildflowers and green branches, the weaving of floral garlands, Morris dancers (who wake Jack in the Green-I always think of Jethro Tull and will be playing this music!), crowning the queen of May, and decorating the Maypole, around which people danced. May Day, is a day on which you should wash your face with morning dew at sunrise to keep yourself looking young and beautiful. You should also gather wildflowers and green branches, make floral garlands and bouquets with ribbons to decorate your home. May baskets were a particular charm, small bouquets that were left anonymously on a doorstep as a token of the season, although if you caught the person, you got a kiss. Lily of the valley and violets were often used; the lily of the valley is also commonly called May flower and is a lucky charm. Flowers were pressed in books and given as gifts. Both fragrance and pressed plants recalled the token years later when you revisit the book. Bookmarks are often of flowers and make a delightful gift at this time of year.

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