Beltane celebrates the return of the rich and fertile earth. It also commemorates the re-union of the God and Goddess. It is a time to celebrate rebirth and fertility and to give praise and thanks for the upcoming growing season.
|Many Wiccans and Pagans celebrate Beltane. It is one of eight solar Sabbats. This holiday incorporates traditions from the Gaelic Bealtaine, such as the bonfire, but it bears more relation to the Germanic May Day festival, both in its significance (focusing on fertility) and its rituals (such as May pole dancing). Some traditions celebrate this holiday on May 1 or May day, whiles others begin their celebration the eve before or April 30th.Beltane has long been celebrated with feasts and rituals. The name means fire of Bel; Belinos being one name for the Sun God, whose coronation feast we now celebrate. As summer begins, weather becomes warmer, and the plant world blossoms, an exuberant mood prevails. In old Celtic traditions it was a time of unabashed sexuality and promiscuity where marriages of a year and a day could be undertaken but it is rarely observed in that manner in modern times.|
In the old Celtic times, young people would spend the entire night in the woods "A-Maying," and then dance around the phallic Maypole the next morning. Older married couples were allowed to remove their wedding rings (and the restrictions they imply) for this one night. May morning is a magickal time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which is collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.
The Christian religion had only a poor substitute for the life-affirming Maypole -- namely, the death-affirming cross. Hence, in the Christian calendar, this was celebrated as 'Roodmas'. In Germany, it was the feast of Saint Walpurga, or 'Walpurgisnacht'. An alternative date around May 5 (Old Beltane), when the sun reaches 15 degrees Taurus, is sometimes employed by Covens. (Both 'Lady Day' and 'Ostara' are names incorrectly assigned to this holiday by some modern traditions of Wicca.)
(taken from: http://wicca.com/celtic/akasha/beltane.htm)
Modern celebrations of May day grew from the pagan observance of Beltane. Beltane is sacred to many Wiccans and Pagans, and is really just a time to think about the abundance in the coming months and the revitalization of the earth.
Beltane is a central feature in the second Hunting the Moon book, Midnight Raven. So I have been fascinated by my research on it. Take a minute to celebrate the coming summer, the warmth of the sun and the renewal spring brings. It is a time to clear out the negativity and center yourself on the positive that dwells within. Rebirth in many forms.