Friday, March 27, 2020

May Day / Beltane: May 4th, 2020


May Day is a spring/summer holiday celebrated at the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice.  The earliest known yearly May-time celebration was the Roman Floralia, a festival to the goddess of flowers Flora, held between April 17th and May 3rd.  Floralia festivities including the release of hares and goats, the pelting of crowds with beans and flowering legumes, and a ritual involving an offering of wheat ears.  Every three years, Romans would also celebrate Maiouma, a festival to Dionysis and Aphrodite.  Maiouma was a 30-day festival involving lit torches all night, lavish banquets, and sexual themes.

The Wheel of the Year, however, focuses on the Gaelic fire festival Beltane, held on roughly the 1st of May throughout Ireland, Scotland, and the Isles of Man marking the start of summer. Special bonfires were lit from which hearth fires were then relit, livestock would be protected by special rituals, and everything from doors to people to cattle would be decorated in yellow flowers.  During this time, the Aos si, Gaelic for spirits or faeries depending on beliefs, would also visit again. Offerings of food would be left for them.

Modern May Day and Beltane, based off the Wheel of the Year, celebrates the height of life. It's a time to enjoy the company of loved ones, dance and, if you're of the variety that enjoys doing so, make love.  A holiday that notably focuses on fertility, May Day often utilizes red to represent menstrual blood and white to represent semen.  Fertility, however, could also mean the fertility of the ground and of livestock, the growth of a career, the budding of friendship, and the creation of happiness within your life.  

This year's spring equinox occurs on Monday, May 4th, 2020 at 7:49 PM CST.  Every year it shifts slightly, so I would suggest checking Archaeoastronomy.com if you're coming to this article after 2020.

Activities and Spells

Rituals

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