As the month of May approaches, people in the Northern Hemisphere prepare to celebrate Beltane, an ancient gaelic holiday marking the turn of the seasons and a time of purification and transition. Beltane also signaled the beginning of the season of Tuatha De Dannan, the folkloric ancestors of the fairies, in Irish tradition.
Peter Stone is offering a stunning collection of Wheel of the Year designs to help celebrate this ancient holiday is a beautiful and inspirational way, and wants to shed a little light on the traditions and history of the Beltane celebration.
One of the primary holidays of the ancient Celts, Beltane (or Beltaine) was second only to Samhain. Celebrated at the beginning of May, Beltane is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. Fires of mountain ash and hawthorn were built on hills, and cattle were driven through the clouds of smoke to purify them.
Bonfires were important for many reasons, not just to purify cattle. May Day Weddings traditionally called for the happy couple to leap through the flames of the bonfire to seal their vows. Others believed that the fairies were unable to make fires of their own, so the sparks of the Beltane bonfire would be carried away to the underworld, to light the homes of the faery folk through the year.
Other variations of the festival include hanging May boughs of ash and hemlock around doors and windows, and erecting a “May bush” in the yard, decorated with ribbons, flowers and garlands. These variations have survived through the ages to become part of the present-day revival of Beltane celebrations.
Beltane has evolved in different areas into various styles of observance. Some cultures celebrate May Day, Sabbat, or Calan Mai, but all owe their roots to the gaelic seasonal festivity of Beltane—and Peter Stone honors these ancient ties with the beautiful and stylish Wheel of the Year collection, the perfect way to celebrate this May!