When the sun is at 15 degrees Taurus or April 30 - May 1

Related Festivals and Alternative Names Beltane, Beltain, Beltaine, May Day, Walburga, Galan Mai, Shenn de Boaldyn, Bealtinne, Beltine, Beal-tine, Rudemas, Roodmas, Cetsamhain, Walpurgisnacht, Hexennacht, May Eve, Tana's Day, La Giornata di Tana, Samhradh, La Baal Tinne, Whitsun, Aphrodisia, Maia's Feast

Beltain is the opposite of Samhain on the traditional, Celtic-based Wheel of the Year and like Samhain, the night when the veil between the worlds is quite thin. Some say the faeries return from their winter hideaway and the night is filled with magic and beauty. Others say the spirits of those who will be born the coming year return to the land of the living this day.

In some traditions, this is the night that the God expresses his love for the lovely Goddess and they will consummate their union in the Sacred Marriage resulting in the conception of the Divine Child who will take the God's place next year, after He has died so that the people of Earth may be fed. It is considered terribly bad manners to upstage the God and Goddess with a mortal wedding, but announcing a betrothal is perfectly acceptable. In other traditions, the God and/or Goddess of Love and His/Her consort are celebrated and possibly invoked. One particular example is Aphrodite and Adonis, another pair is Anghus Mac Og and Caer Iborméith. On this night of passion, many couples will wander off alone to make a little magic of their own. Children conceived on this night are gifted of the Gods and are known as Merry-be-gots.

The May pole dance is a traditional part of the Beltaine festival, with the pole representing the male and the ribbons female. May baskets may be exchanged, in quite the opposite way that gifts are exchanged on Samhain. Instead of going door to door collecting gifts, people hang May baskets filled with goodies from the doorknobs of their friends and neighbors.

Beltain is one of the fire festivals of the Wiccan calendar. In ancient times this may (or may not) have been a time of sacrifice, including human sacrifice. The tradition of leaping over the fire may be a reflection of this, or it may be similar to the custom of passing livestock through two bonfires for blessings and fertility.

In celebrating or decorating for this Sabbat, you may wish to utilize the following:

Gods and Goddesses

Bel, Belanos, Aphrodite, Adonis, Achilles, Arianhrod, Ariel, Artemis, Astarte, Anghus Og, Cybele, Diana, Freya, Rhiannon, Shiela-na-gig, Skadi, Var, Venus, Xochiquetzal, Apollo, Bacchus, Cernnunos, Cupid, Eros, Faunus, Frey, the Horned God, Herne, Odin, Orion, Pan, Puck, Robin Goodfellow, Maia

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