Saturday, May 1, 2010
Happy Beltane! - Around the House
Today, May 1st, is May Day for many of us. For the Gaelic and Irish, it's Beltane, one of the two important fire festivals in the Celtic year. Beltane arrives at the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, it's celebrated as a fertility festival marking the rebirth of the earth. Many of the same symbols that mark Easter, mark this festival as well including eggs and flowers.
According to Wikipedia, "Another common aspect of the festival which survived up until the early 20th century in Ireland was the hanging of May Boughs on the doors and windows of houses and the erection of May Bushes in farmyards, which usually consisted either of a branch of rowan/caorthann (mountain ash) or more commonly whitethorn/sceach geal (hawthorn) which is in bloom at the time and is commonly called the 'May Bush'. The practice of decorating the May Bush or Dos Bhealtaine with flowers, ribbons, garlands and colored egg shells."
Another popular celebration of this holiday around the world is dancing around the Maypole in a clockwise direction to bring fertility and good luck. The colored ribbons added later are said to symbolize the balance of masculine and feminine.
I don't have a maypole in my backyard, but I did celebrate May Day in my own way. Today, I filled my empty patio pots with fresh soil and new plants. I bought some new plants and some old favorites. I always love to plant trailing blue and purple lobelia and small white and red wax begonias alternating around the pots. This year, I'm experimenting and mixing in some alyssum, hybrid dahlias, and delphiniums. I couldn't help myself, I bought 3 coleus plants because I just love the colors of the leaves.
The sun came out and smiled on me dirty hands and all. And my husband and I managed to find a little time to enjoy our hard work with a beer and homemade guacamole. Happy Beltane (May Day) to you! I hope you had time to get out and enjoy the spring flowers, too.