Beltaine – May Day and Carnivals
April 27, 2012 in Minimalism
In the UK, Beltaine and May Day have become almost interchangeable. May Day is usually the first Monday in May and is a Bank Holiday. Some Paganism books have May the First as Beltaine, but as a cross-quarter day (between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice), it should move slightly each year. Different areas of the UK have slightly different ways of celebrating May Day, usually a May Pole with brightly coloured ribbons and children dancing around it until the ribbons get plaited around it, is involved, but some villages have a dance that ensures fertility or abundance for those taking part.
All of this is very, very Pagan, yet not obviously so. The town that I live in has a May Queen to be crowned next Thursday (May 3rd) in the Town Square, then the May Queen will be put on a float and driven around the Town Square on the Saturday in a Carnival. This kind of thing happens all over the UK, but the original Pagan meaning is lost. There are no fires involved for purification and growth, and I doubt there would have been, even if Health and Safety would allow it. The insurance companies that do so love to impose rules on what can and can’t be done in public places on events such as these are all but killing the meanings and fun of them. It doesn’t seem to make their premiums go down though!
On the subject of sabbats and the shifting nature of many of them, I ask;
“Are we growing lazy by placing a permanent date on them (as some books tell us to, i.e 21st March, June, September & December) or is this the way forward for Modern Paganism?”
Whichever tradition you follow (if any) and whatever day you choose to hold your Beltaine, I hope it is good for you and your family.
Blessings and Namaste,