All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
I have heard alot of arguments in my area lately concerning the rites of May, with everyone bickering over which points are most important. So I want to get a common thread going.
1.)What does Mayday mean to you?
2.)What does the Maypole really mean in your opinion?
3.)Do you use fire rites for the first of May?
4.)Is it an adults only holiday, if so why?
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This is a lesser sabbath for us. No big feast. We do our thing sometimes with sometimes without.
For me and mine feast days are about the gathering itself. It's about the food. Who's planning what for their garden. Setting up the fairy castle. Letting the lady bugs free into the garden. ( smiles )
Us? With a Maypole? Did that once. I waited to long to announce it. After a few kegs and a round of extreme horse shoe. Wasn't pretty.
Running with the seemingly common thread of Beltaine being celebrated as a sort of 'wedding' between the Goddess and her Consort, I tend to stick a human context onto it. Yes, I place stock in the superstition that mortals shouldn't handfast/marry in May. No, I don't know why, so I couldn't explain it to anyone. For some reason the thought rubs me the wrong way on the inside. It isn't because of the 'celestial marriage' thing, because I can think of one singular beautiful reason for us lowly ones TO marry/handfast on Beltaine: what better way to honor the event of the Goddess and God, than knot our troths in their honor?
Ok, I rambled, didn't mean to. The context I stick to the holiday is that of change. The same sort of neutral change I stick to Samhain, because isn't life what you make it?
The Maypole... I've never had the chance to participate in that particular tradition, though I hope to someday. The meaning I stick to it would have to be two-fold, both dealing with fertility and change, which could both be considered synonymous in the proper context. The first would be symbolic of the Great Rite, I think I'll assume I don't have to spell that out. *grins* Fertility is, needless to say, a change. The second would be marriage/handfasting. Marriage for the wreath of flowers that descends the pole as celebrants weave the ribbons when they dance. I mention handfasting separate from marriage in this though they're practically synonymous because of the way some people weave the cords they use for their handfasting ceremonies. It seems to be done in the same fashion as the ribbons are woven around the pole during a Maypole dance. Again, marriage is a change.
Fire rites...I use a fire rite mostly, because candles are the easiest things to get ahold of around here, and they're easiest to hide. I do, however, tend to plant flowers outdoors very close to the holiday, and I tend to extend my celebration of it to that. My 'higher purpose' for lack of better word for the fire rite is for fertility purposes. Taking a look at energy in general, it could be considered a form of fire in its highest state. If I happen to have need of any healing work for myself, I try to hold off for as long as feasible to make it as close to Beltaine as possible, as light's primary physical source is fire. Fire looked at in this regard has helped me with several health problems. Life is also sometimes described as some type of fire or heat, and seems to me to be a good opposite for negative energy/ill health.
The age issue, I think, is entirely personal. If you intend to invite kids to partake in Maypole dancing and you were 'conservative' about 'That' when they were tiny, you could easily use the marriage/handfasting symbolism. If you tend to view the firey aspect of the holiday as a force of change, cleansing and/or healing, I'm not sure how that would offend any parent's morality regarding what their kids are exposed to. On the other hand, if you're throwing a Beltaine bash and everyone's going to be having sex on every available surface, inviting kids would be a no-no.
Beltaine,aka Mí Bhealtaine, to the Celts, and Samhain are two important festivities for Ireland,n' Scotland.Samhain of course being the more important one out of the two.
The beginning of the summer season for the Tuatha De Danann and the Milesians started at Bealtaine. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with ritual acts to protect the people from any harm by Otherworldly spirits, such as the Aos Si Like the festival Samhain, opposite Beltane on 31 October Beltane was also a time when the Otherworld was seen as particularly close at hand.
My family resides in an apartment,n' I am unable to celebrate the day as it should be celebrated. I hang sprigs n such,a small, but delightful meal. We do a trivia game, about herbals/flowers etc. Watch a good movie together. I tell my youngest,Starr,she's 10,enjoys the faery tale (s).My older 2, claim they outgrew the stories,n' do their own thing, but I know they still listen. My dinning room decor is even roses n' faeries.lol.