Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bring Back May Day!
May Day Photo from Library of Congress 
Today is May Day, and at the risk of sounding...well, OLD, I have to say they don't celebrate it like they used to when I was a girl. In my elementary school, we'd make May Baskets, fill them with flowers (although in Upstate NY, they were more likely the paper variety, as typically we still had snow on the ground) and give them as surprise gifts to random friends or neighbors.

It was like Ding-Dong-Ditch, but with a much happier ending.

And we'd do the May Pole dance. Erm, except in my class, they'd give you crepe paper instead of ribbons to wind around the flagpole, and when you're in your snow-boots instead of frilly dresses, it sort of loses something. But still. We celebrated the coming of summer, and that's the point.

In all my years as a mom of elementary kids, there has been nary a single May Day basket. No tromping around a May Pole. No random gifts of flowers to friends or neighbors.

I can't help feeling like we've lost something.

I wonder if it's because the origin of May Day points to the Celtic festival of Beltane (or Gaelic, Beltaine) where the cattle were driven by hand-lit bonfires to mark the return of the sun and promote health and fertility--a custom that is still observed in Ireland.

In Wicca, Beltane is one of the Major Sabbats, or holidays, and is the opposite on the calendar wheel to Samhain. Where Beltane signals the beginning of the growing cycle of the year, Samhain signals the end, and as such, the veils between the worlds are said to be thinnest at these times of great change.

As I've written about Samhain in my novella "ANY WITCH WAY", I'm thinking I need a continuation of
Joshua and Lily's story on the opposite--the growing and fertile--side of the year. It's said on Beltane, you can see fairies, and if you washed your face with morning dew on Beltane, you'd be gifted with beauty. And with all of the Celtic and pagan tradition behind Beltane, I think it would make a lovely follow-up.

Now I've just got to get my writing muse to agree!

Happy May Day. Blessed Beltane. And...

Happily My Ever After,

P.S. Want to check out my novel that takes place on Samhain, the ending of the Wiccan year? Check out the video for ANY WITCH WAY here, and read the first few pages of my novel here.

P.P.S. What to read more from the sources I consulted for this article? Check out Witchvox website for more on the Wiccan holiday, or read up on the history of May Day at the Washington Post, or the online Encyclopedia Brittanica

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