May Day was known to the Celtic people of this land as Beltane; a season of fertility and a promise of abundance to come. It was a fire festival when home fires and bonfires were lit across the land in honour of the Celtic God Bel; the word Beltane means Bel's fire. Marriages were arranged, celebrated and consumated at Beltane as it was a propitious time to ensure fertility of the marrying couple. Cattle were driven between the Bel fires to ensure a fertility of the herd and crops were visited to ensure an abundant harvest.
In this modern age we have lost touch with the earth and her seasons as our centrally heated homes keep us warm without effort all year round and our 'crops' come from the supermarket, we don't have to hope there will be food for us, we don't have to plant and gather it. But a lot has been lost with these wonderful old traditions; yes those days were harsh and we wouldn't want to bring back the uncertainty and lack, but still the earth is ultimately where we are provided for, before it gets to Tesco or Asda, and so the Beltane celebrations and festivals are still relevant today.
In Glastonbury today there will be a mammoth celebration which began with the rising of moon last night and the greeting of the Beltane Sun on the Tor this morning, and later in the town there will be feasting and dancing and honouring the God and Goddess of the land and the sky.
Our days are filled with uncertainties of a different kind, and so it is perhaps just as relevant today as in times past to take a breath and think about what we want from the coming year (our harvest) and how we can go about ensuring its fertility (working at it and believing in it).
Wherever you are on this Beltane, may the blessings of the season be yours and may your dreams bear fruit in due season. Happy Beltane!