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Beltane

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Beltane is the summer season of the ancient Celts, the antithesis of winter and Samhain and following Imbolc. Beltane is usually celebrated approximately midway between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice.

Beltane means "fire of Bel" (or, possibly the "bale-fire", from the Old English root word bael meaning white), Bel (Bel, Bile, Beli, Belenos), the bright and shinning one, one of the pantheon of Celtic gods, representing the sun.

Walpurgis Night Like Samhain Eve, the Eve of Beltane (at least, in Norse cultures) is a time when witches are abroad and the dead are a little closer to our world.

The Maypole Many Neopagans dance the Maypole as part of Beltane festivities. The Maypole is a phallic symbol[?]. Long colored ribbons are attached to the top of the Maypole, which is festooned with flowers and greenery. Boys and girls stand alternately around the base of the pole, each holding the end of a ribbon. They weave in and around each other, boys going one way and girls going the other, and the ribbons are woven together around the pole until the merrimakers meet at the base.

The Fires of Beltane Celebrants often leap through or over a fire, sometimes naked and sometimes clothed. The fires of Beltane are considered sacred and purifying. Some people believe it also ensures fertility.

Also known as: May Day, Walpurgis Night, Bealtaine, etc.

Beltane is a Wiccan or Neopagan cross-quarter day. It is celebrated in the northern hemisphere on May 1 and in the southern hemisphere on November 1. Among the sabbats, it is preceded by Ostara and followed by Midsummer.

See also Wheel of the Year.

Lord Summerisle: They do love their divinity lessons.
Sgt. Howie: But they are... are naked!
Lord Summerisle: Naturally! It's much too dangerous to jump through the fire with your clothes on.
-- The Wicker Man, Anthony Shaffer, 1973



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