The Eve of Bealtaine, the beginning of the celebration of the first day of Summer according to the old Celtic calendar. The good weather this year make the vibrancy and energy of the season more tangible than usual. There is an old saying to predict the weather ” Ash before Oak, you’re in for a soak. Oak before Ash, you’re in for a splash.” As you can see from the pic above the Oak is in leaf first, in Arigna anyway!
The name Bealtaine comes from the Celtic god, Bel, meaning bright one, and the Gaelic word, teine, meaning fire. Midnight tonight is the traditional time for fires to be lit. The lighting of fires was seen as a symbol of purification for man and beast. The Celts used to build 2 fires and drive the livestock between them, this ensured fertility and a good milk yield.
The Earth’s energies are at their most active now, everything is a fresh new green. The Hawthorn or Maybush is just coming into flower. It was an important plant at Bealtaine, bunches were collected early on a May morning and placed above the doors and windows as a protection. They were also placed on doors of the animal houses.
The dew collected on a May morning was believed to have magical properties. If used to wash your face it was said you would’nt be burnt by the sun or get wrinkles.