May 1st has been used for centuries for a variety of celebrations. Coming as it does between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, it is a good day for hope and plans. It’s been the date(-ish) for the celebration of Flora, goddess of spring in the pre-Christian era, May Day and International Workers Day, to name a few holidays marked on or about May 1st.
Perhaps my favorite May 1st celebration is Beltane, originally commemorated in Ireland and Scotland. There, two big bonfires would be built and cattle and other livestock would be walked between them to ensure their health for the coming season. Perhaps because I love building fires (the fire pit kind, not the destructive kind), this particularly appeals to me. Beltane has since been appropriated by the neo-pagan movement as a day of renewal. By May 1st, the promise of spring is real and the kiss of the sun can be felt. (As I write this, I am already sunburned thanks to the garden!). The fires of Beltane represent the strength of the sun, life-giving, purifying, beautiful.
So, tonight, in honor of Beltane, I will be building a great big fire in my fire pit and wishing health and happiness on all my loved ones… and giving thanks for YOU. Thanks for reading.