Our top 3 May-day traditions
By celebrating the passage of the seasons through art, music and story, we strengthen our connection to the rhythms of nature. I have written down a few of the other traditions and crafts you might enjoy at this stage of the wheel of the year.
A lovely craft idea is for children to make and share May Baskets. There are many ways may baskets can be made. A paper basket decorated with paper flowers, a hand-woven basket of new spring flowers, a wicker basket (either made by the children or decorated with flowers. You can add bread to the basket to give to neighbours or loved ones to wish them a happy summer. Or these can simply by used as decoration hung on the fence posts or door handles or front steps.
The Maypole is a popular and familiar image of May Day and Beltane. A pole, often made from birch, is inserted into the Earth, representing the potency of the God. The ring of flowers at the top of the Maypole represents the fertile Goddess. Its many coloured ribbons and the ensuing weaving dance symbolise the spiral of Life and the union of the Goddess and God, the union between Earth and Sky.
The colours of Beltane are green, red and white/silver. Green represents growth, abundance and fertility. Red represents strength, vitality, passion and vibrancy. White represents cleansing and clearing and the power to disperse negativity.
Like almost all the old traditions May Day is a Fire Festival. The word ‘Beltane’ originates from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, meaning ‘the bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ meaning fire. Together they make ‘Bright Fire’, or ‘Goodly Fire’. Bonfires were lit to honour the Sun and encourage the support the Sun’s light to nurture the future harvest.