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Lore and Traditions | Rituals | Child Activities | Recipes

Beltane Lore and Traditions

Beltane is an ancient Celtic fire festival and one of the eight sabbats in the Wheel of the Year. Traditionally celebrations begin on April 30th and continue though the night into May 1st. Beltane falls halfway between the Spring Equinox (Ostara) and Summer Solstice (Litha) and marks the end of spring and beginning of summer.  It was a time to celebrate the arrival of the longer, lighter days ahead.

The name Beltane means 'fire of Bel', Belinos (or Belenus) being the name of the Celtic Sun God.  Beltane marks the emergence of the young Sun God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desires the Goddess.  In folklore the masculine Sun would cover the feminine Earth and life would be renewed again. This story symbolized the fertility of the land and marked the beginning of the new growing season.

Beltane Fire

Beltane would not be complete without a fire. Whether it's a large community bonfire, or a single candle lit at home, fire is the center of most Beltane celebrations. People would dance around the fire for purification and fertility blessings. Couples would sometimes jump through a fire together to pledge themselves to each other. Traditionally, during the festival, all fires in a community would be extinguished and only the bonfire lit in honor of Bel would burn. After the celebration, members of the community would take a piece from the hearth fire and light the fire in their own homes. Today, these community fires are not as common and most of us simply burn smaller fires in our own hearths or light candles to honor the power and cycles of the Sun.

The May pole was a focal point in the old English village rituals.  A May Pole is a pole inserted into the earth with a ring of flowers at the top to represent the fertility Goddess. Its colorful ribbons and weaving dances symbolized the spiral of life and the union of the Sun/God and Earth/Goddess.

To celebrate Beltane many people rose at the first light of the day to gather flowers and branches to decorate their homes. Women would braid flowers into their hair and both men and women decorated their bodies for the celebration.  May morning was also a magical time for wild water (dew, flowing streams, and springs) which was collected and used to bathe in for beauty, or to drink for health.  

Beltane has long been celebrated with feasts and rituals. Today, many Wicca, Witch and Pagan traditions still prepare a wedding feast to celebrate the union of the God and Goddess.  Breads and cereals are popular. Try oatmeal cakes or cookies sweetened with a dab of honey. Dairy foods are also appropriate. Just make a lovely wedding feast and you are sure to enjoy your day!

In the Christian calendar, this holiday was celebrated on May 3rd and is known as Roodmas or the Feast of the Cross. In Germany, it was the feast of Saint Walpurga, or 'Walpurgisnacht'.

You can celebrate Beltane with an early morning walk through a local park or forest.  This can lift the spirit and be fun for everyone, humans and pets alike. Gather up some plants or flowers to display in your home. Mom and daughter could braid their hair, and weave in a few tender blossoms. Buy or make a special loaf of bread or treats for your feast. See recipes below!

Child Activities

  1. Gathering fresh flowers is an old tradition of this Sabbat. Children can weave a paper basket (or a simple cone shaped one with a handle) and fill their basket with flowers. The baskets can then be hung on the doorknob of a friend or neighbor's house to help brighten that person's day as well.
  2. Herbal sachets are also easy for children to construct and they make wonderful gifts too! Take a small square of fabric and pile dried herbs or flowers in the center. Gather up the edges and tie it closed with a ribbon.
  3. Another fun projet is to make a floral garland. Gather wild flowers or purchase a couple of bouquets of flowers (daisies are easy to work with). Take a pin and, at the point where the stem meets the bud, make a small slit. Slide the stem of another flower into the slit. Then, make a slit on that flower, and slide another in. Continue this until you have a long train of flowers.

Your floral basket, garland or herbal sachet can be given away or simply hung in a tree as a gift to the God and Goddess.


Oatmeal Bread


  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. vinegar
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup oats
  • 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup raisins or chopped nuts

Beat milk, oil and vinegar in mixing bowl until smooth. Add oats, flour, brown sugar, baking soda and mix well. Add nuts or raisins turn into loaf pan bake at 350 for 50 - 60 minutes or until done depending on the oven.



  • 1 unbaked pie shell
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • dash of red pepper
  • 3/4 cup gruyere cheese
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup finely chopped apple, peeled and cored
  • 7 1/2 oz crab or mushrooms or peppers or whatever you would like

Bake pie shell at 450 for 10 minutes or until slightly brown. Beat eggs, half and half, salt and red pepper. Set aside. Combine cheese, flour, crab or mushrooms etc and sprinkle into the bottom of the pie shell. Pour the egg mixture over it. Bake at 450 degrees uncovered for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.



  • 2-3 tbsp. prepared yogurt
  • 1 quart skim milk
  • 1/2 cup instant non fat milk powder

Allow yogurt to reach room temp. Bring milk to scalding then cool to 110-115 degrees. Add dry milk and pour into bowl. Cover then wrap in large towel. Set in warm place for 6 to 8 hours. When semi solid store in fridge. Add fruit when you just before serving

May Wine

White wine with a pinch of woodruff and fresh strawberries.


NOTICE: If you have a favorite Beltane recipe that you would like to share, please use the contact link below to send it to us!