May Eve and May 1
The Sabbat of Beltane comes from an ancient Druid Fire Festival celebrating the marriage of the Goddess and the God, the Lord and the Lady, so it is a fertility festival.
Beltane also celebrates the returning sun (or Sun God) and is one of the few Pagan festivals that has survived from pre-Christian times to the modern day in much of its original form. It is based in part on Floralia, an old Roman nature festival dedicated to Flora, the sacred goddess of flowers. In more ancient times, this festival day was dedicated to Pluto, the Roman lord of the Underworld, and counterpart of the god Hades in Greek mythology. The first day of May was also the day when the ancient Romans burned frankincense and Solomon's seal, and hung wildflower wreaths before their altars in honor of the guardian spirits who watched over and protected their families and homes.
On Beltane day, the sun is in the astrological sign of Taurus the Bull, which marks the "death" of Winter, the "birth" of Spring, and the start of the planting season.
Beltane begins with the traditional lighting of Beltane bonfires (or symbols of) at moonrise on May Day eve to light the way for Summer. A Sabbat ritual in honor of the Goddess and God is performed, followed by a celebration of Nature which consists of feasts, old Pagan games, poetry readings, and the singing of sacred songs. Various offerings are made to elemental spirits, and coven members exuberantly dance clockwise around a decorated Maypole (a phallic fertility symbol). They also intertwine bright colored ribbons to symbolize the union of male and female and to celebrate the great fertilizing power of the God. The partying continues until the wee morning hours, and at dawn on May Day, morning dew is gathered from grass and wildflowers to be used in mystical potions for good luck.
TRADITIONAL PAGAN FOODS:
Red fruits (such as cherries and strawberries)
Red or Pink wine punch
Large, round oatmeal or barley cakes, known as Beltane cakes
Beltane: It's History and Modern Celebration in Wicca in America
SEASONS: MAIN PAGE
Beltane / Summer Solstice / Lugnassadh / Autumn Equinox