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Next Holiday: Beltane May 1, 2019
'Perhaps it's just as well that you won't be here...to be offended by the sight of our May Day celebrations.' --Lord Summerisle to Sgt. Howie from 'The Wicker Man'
There are four great festivals of the Pagan Celtic year and
the modern Witches’ calendar, as well. The two greatest of these are Halloween
(the beginning of winter) and May Day (the beginning of summer). Being opposite
each other on the wheel of the year, they separate the year into halves.
Halloween (also called Samhain) is the Celtic New Year and is generally
considered the more important of the two, though May Day runs a close second.
Indeed, in some areas—notably Wales—it is considered “the great holiday”.
May Day ushers in the fifth month of the modern calendar
year, the month of May. This month is named in honor of the Goddess Maia,
originally a Greek mountain nymph, later identified as the most beautiful of
the Seven Sisters, the Pleiades. By Zeus, she is also the mother of Hermes, God
of magic. Maia’s parents were Atlas and Pleione, a sea nymph.
The old Celtic name for May Day is Beltane (in its most
popular Anglicized form), which is derived from the Irish Gaelic Bealtaine or
the Scottish Gaelic Bealtuinn, meaning “Bel-fire”, the fire of the Celtic God
of Light (Bel, Beli, or Belinus). He, in turn, may be traced to the Middle
Eastern God Baal.
Other names for May Day include: Cetsamhain (opposite
Samhain), Walpurgisnacht (inGermany),
and Roodmas (the medieval church’s name). This last came from church fathers
who were hoping to shift the common people’s allegiance from the Maypole (Pagan
lingam—symbol of life) to the Holy Rood (the cross—Roman instrument of death).
For the rest of Mike Nichols' article on Beltane click here
Next Holiday Southern Hemisphere: Samhain
May 1, 2019
For an article on Samhain by Mike Nichols click here.
2019 Wiccan/Pagan Calendar