Wiccan Beltane /Floralia

Wiccan Beltane /Floralia

Beltane is a Gaelic festival that marks the beginning of the Spring and is typically held anywhere from April 30th to May 1st (falling in between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice) when the livestock is sent out into the Summer pastures to graze; a celebration of bonfires, flowers and the fertility of Spring the time of sowing seeds of all kinds. It is one of Ireland’s oldest festivals and has its roots in an ancient Roman festival, Floralia, which celebrated flowers and sexuality.

Wiccan Beltane Floralia
Having faded into obscurity by the mid-century it has been revived by Wiccans and Celtic Neopagans and is a celebration of fertility and hope for the coming period of growth leading up to the fruition of the fall harvest. Loose flowers, garlands and bouquets are a symbol of this and are used for decoration everywhere, inside the home and pasture, braided in hair and on the animals, often mirroring the color of the flames serving to remind everyone of the blessings of nature and of the season.

Beltane serves to protect and enhance the ties between the people, the gods of the home and the land. Large bonfires are lit in the fields while the people and their animals walk around them, between two or leap over them. These fires can be started with what is called a May Bush, usually made from a small tree or shrub with thorned branches and covered with decorations evocative of fire in color or form.

Today Beltane festivals are as much a cultural celebration as a religious time of offerings and rituals. The current Wiccan festivals, in addition to the traditions above, includes maypole dancing and the symbolic marriage of a May Lord and May Lady with their wedding feast following. It is one of the eight Wheel of the Year Sabbats, falling before Midsummer and after Ostara. Wiccan Beltane focuses on the fertility of the season and the cycle of life. The foods of the feast reflect this cycle in the whole grains, beans, dairy and honeyed treats that are popular.

Incorporating a number of spring traditions from many cultures the Wiccan Beltane maintains and honors its ancient roots of hope, abundance and fertility to this day.