April's showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane. Observed on May 1st (or October 31 - November 1 for our Southern Hemisphere readers), festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It's a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth, and a day that has a long (and sometimes scandalous) history. Depending on your tradition, there are a number of ways you can celebrate this Sabbat. First, you might want to read up on:
Rituals and Ceremonies
Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate Beltane, but the focus is nearly always on fertility. It's the time when the earth mother opens up to the fertility god, and their union brings about healthy livestock, strong crops, and new life all around.
Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying -- and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead.
- Celebrate Beltane with a Maypole Dance
- Beltane Bonfire Ritual - a group ceremony
- Hold a Family Abundance Rite for Beltane
- Honor the Sacred Feminine with a Goddess Ritual
- Beltane Planting Ritual for Solitaries
- Handfastings and Weddings
- Beltane Prayers
Traditions and Trends
Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind the celebrations of May Day? Learn why the Romans had a big party, and who the popular fertility gods are.
- Setting Up Your Beltane Altar
- Beltane Altar Photo Gallery
- Deities of Beltane
- Who Were the Mother Goddesses?
- Who Is the Green Man?
- Morris Dances and Mummer's Plays
- Legends and Lore of Beltane
- Legends of the Bees
- Welcome the Birds at Beltane
- Floralia: The Roman May Day Celebration
- The May Queen vs. the Queen of Winter
- Faerie Lore
- The Secret Language of Flowers
- What is the Bale Fire?
- The Beltane Hobby Horse
Beltane is a season of fertility and fire, and we often find this reflected in the magic of the season. Let's look at some of that spring magic, from ritual sex to fertility magic, along with the magic found in gardens and nature.
- Ritual Sex and the Great Rite
- Fertility Magic and Customs
- Chocolate and Sex
- Plant a Magical Moon Garden
- Magical Spring Flowers
- Magical Herbal Correspondences
- Graveyard Dirt
- Magical Prosperity Soap
- Plant a Goddess Garden
- Horse Magic, Folkore and Legends
Crafts and Creations
As Beltane approaches, you can decorate your home (and keep your kids entertained) with a number of easy craft projects. Start celebrating a bit early with fun floral crowns and a Maypole altar centerpiece.
- Floral Crown
- Maypole Altar Centerpiece
- Faerie Chair
- Make a May Day Cone Basket
- Magical Weaving & Braiding
- Beltane Fire Incense
Feasting and Food
No Pagan celebration is really complete without a meal to go along with it. For Beltane, celebrate with foods that honor fertility of the earth. Enjoy light spring soups, Scottish bannocks, fertility bread loaves, and more.