It’s still April 30th here – my mom’s birthday, too.

April’s showers have given way to rich and fertile earth, and as the land greens, there are few celebrations as representative of fertility as Beltane.
Observed on May 1st, festivities typically begin the evening before, on the last night of April. It’s a time to welcome the abundance of the fertile earth, and a day that has a long (and sometimes scandalous) history. Depending on your tradition, there are a number of ways you can celebrate this Sabbat.

*Go Maying. One traditional way to celebrate Beltane was called Maying, which meant to stay out late or all night gathering flowers in the woods and fields. Young people often met in the woods at this time and would bring back the flowers they found.

*Make May baskets. If you have fresh flowers, fill some baskets for festive decorations or to leave on the doorsteps of friends and neighbors.

*Build a May pole. While May pole dances can get quite complicated, the basic idea is to set up a tall pole (traditionally a tree trunk) with many long streamers attached near the top. Dancers hold these streamers and dance in both directions around the pole, interweaving with the dancers going the other way. This causes the streamers to get woven around the pole until they get quite short and the dance ends.

*Celebrate Beltane by feasting on fresh fruit, wine, chocolate, edible flowers, honey, spring greens and other indulgent foods. This is possibly the most appropriate day of the entire year to do so.

*Have a bonfire. In some areas, Beltane fires traditionally burn all night. There are also traditions of jumping over the fire, especially while holding the hand of a loved one, in order to ensure luck in the coming year.

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