It’s May Day!
Here in the northern hemisphere it’s May Day, the official start of spring. A time to celebrate the return of the Sun and the warm days of summer. To prepare for the growing season and the celebration of the return of life.
Known as the Festival of Fire, Beltaine honors both the union of male and female, and the return of the Sun God, Bel. By the Solar Calendar, the holiday is celebrated on May 1st. But by the Lunar Calendar it’s honored on May 6th. To learn more about this holiday, visit Beltaine: The Fire Festival.
The Old Farmers Almanac has this to say about May Day:
Ancient spring rites that related human fertility to crop fertility gave birth to most modern May Day festivities. May 1 is the traditional day to crown the May queen, dance around the maypole, perform mummers’ plays, and generally celebrate the return of spring. Although our Pilgrim fathers were horrified by these reminders of a pagan past and outlawed all such activities, the maypole dance remains an enduring event. In Great Britain, the custom of “bringing in the May” involves gathering “knots,” or branches with buds, on the eve or early morning of May 1. In England, a favorite branch is hawthorn. In Scotland and Wales, people choose the rowan, or mountain ash. In North America, we often select forsythia, lilac, or pussy willow branches to bring spring and the prospect of new life into our homes.
Making a May Day basket is also one of these fairly modern traditions that can be shared by Pagan and non-Pagan alike. One of my favorite celebration items is making a May Day bouquet. These flower filled bouquets are most often in a cone shape, hold blooming flowers of your liking and hung on the front door handle.
But what about the seasonal changes in the southern hemisphere? They’re entering into fall, not spring.
In the Southern Hemisphere, honoring the return of the Sun as the fall months are about to be in full swing doesn’t make a lot of sense. Pagan holidays focus on moving with the flow of energy in harmony and union. So our holidays are mutable, and not set in stone. While we’re honoring Spring up here in the North, down south it’s time to honor the harvest and end of the seasonal year.
That means it’s time for Samhain. The holiday dates back to the ancient Celts who lived 2,000+ years ago. Contrary to what some believe, is not a celebration of a Celtic god of the dead. Instead, it is a Celtic word meaning “summer’s end.” and it’s a celebration of the harvest and the New Year.
As pagans we view the year as a cycle of life, beginning with the rebirth in the spring and death in fall, with an existence of spirit during the winter. Through the passing of the physical comes reverence and gratitude for the harvest season. Along with the preparations of storing supplies for the coming winter months. Without these tasks, a family or community would not survive during the winter. So it’s easy to see how these preparations can take on very serious and reverent perspectives. To learn more about this holiday, visit The History of Samhain.
Everyone here at
Springwolf Reflections and Spring’s Haven
Wish you all a wonderful and fun filled festival celebration!
Merry Beltaine and Happy Samhain!
© 2015 Springwolf, D.D., Ph.D. Springwolf Reflections / Springs Haven, LLC. All Rights Reserved.