April 30th / May 1 – Beltane
Also known as Roodmas or May Day
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 the Middle Ages, people used to make little booths or shelters of the branches of trees and spend the day feasting and making merry on the lawns, with music, singing, and dancing. May Day is an out-of-doors festival. Many secular songs were recorded on the continent long before secular music was notated in England, and there are entire genres of secular music known from Europe from the early Middle Ages. Below is a link to a performance of one of the earliest English songs that there are known lyrics and music for. It was thought to be composed for Mayday.
For Reflection: Close your eyes and take in this lovely, haunting song.
Peace for all green things