May 1: Beltane

1 May

May 1 or May Day comes from the ancient festival of Beltane.  It was a celebration of the return of fertility to the land.  It is commonly celebrated today by making May baskets to deliver to friends and neighbors.

In the old days, the holiday would be celebrated in a community festival.  You may have heard about dancing around the May pole.  I don’t have a pole with ribbons, but I do have an abundance of spring flowers showing their colors.

Lily of the Valley

Lilac

Jack-in-the-Pulpit

Bluebells.

Fern

The apple blossoms are already losing their dainty petals.  It means we should have an abundance of apples this fall.  They will make cider, applesauce, pies, and wines.  The wine below is “chapel,” a sweet dessert wine that combines cherry and apple.

Some communities would perform fertility rituals to ensure good crops for the coming year.  The highlight of the celebration would be the bonfire for everyone to leap over.

My fire was a bit large for me to leap over, but it was practical.  I finally found a dry, calm evening to burn the limbs and branches that fell from the trees as well as last year’s garden growth.  Hopefully, the ashes will help to provide fertile soil for this year’s garden.

I hope you had an enjoyable May Day.

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