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GUEST,Brían May / Beltane - how do you celebrate (31) RE: Help: May / Beltane - how do you celebrate 12 May 01


My, this is quite an interesting discussion on Beltane.
I've been doing a little field research on the subject. Great bit of work, Chicken Charlie.Most of the traditions I came across had to do with wheels and fires.
First I'll start with Webster's New World Dictionary: Beltane: (bel' tane) n. [scot. Bealtainn 1. May 1(Old style). 2. The ancient Celtic May Day.
Bullfinch's Mythology goes on to say:
The Druids observed 2 festivals in each year.The former took place in the beginning of May, and was called "Beltane" or "Fire of God". On this occasion a large fire was kindled on some elevated spot, in honor of the sun, whose returning beneficence they thus welcomed after the gloom and desolation of winter. Of this custom a trace remains in the name given to Whitsunday in parts of Scotland to this day. Sir walter Scott uses the word in the "Boat Song" in the "Lady of the Lake":

"Ours is no sapling, chance sown by the fountain, Blooming at Beltane in winter to fade;" etc.

there, that being said, I'll go on to some of my field research.
Last night i spoke with Máirín, the mother of my Irish language teacher. Máirín, who grew up in Lochan Beag, Co.Galway says to be sure fish was brought in so you would have fish for the rest of the year. i asked her if you had to catch the fish. She says no, you could buy it. She says the whole area was dependent on fish.
She asked me if I knew what a Súgán was. I said yes, I think its a rope. She said yes, you make a rope with hay and wind it around the (milking)cans so there would be milk for the rest of the year.
She does not remember any bonfires.
I then went to my teacher, Mary who is Máirín's daughter. Mary says, bringing in fish is very nice, but what do the landlocked people do? I said they must do something else. She says that's right. The traditions are all localised. That explains the wide variations on the traditions noted by the various 'catters. Beltane was a god worshipped all over europe. He seemed to govern round things as well as fire. so therefore on May 1st, don't spin, don't sew, don't turn any wheel, don't make anything round, so don't make any round bread. Don't churn any butter.
As for fires, she said not to throw out any ashes until the next day.

That's all for Beltane, although I have some great info on Lúnasa which I will save for August.

Slán go fóill agus beidh mé ag caint libh aríst,
Brían.


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