Celtic Fire Festivals: How to Celebrate Beltane

It is the time of year to celebrate Beltane! You are probably more familiar with the Beltane festival than you think, as it is the Celtic name for May Day. Beltane is a marking of renewal of life in a fun and festive way. And another excuse to dress yourself up in our authentic Celtic clothing and jewelry!

How do the Celts celebrate Beltane? There are many earthly traditions to bring in spring, and we will cover some of our favorites to bring your family into the festivities. 

The Core of Beltane

Beltane written out with herbs, colors, and ribbons.

Earthly elements play a prime role in a Beltane celebration; fire, flowers, herbs, and the outdoors. The human spirits of fertility, romance, sexuality, and sensuality come to play on May 1st. And lastly, the mystical fairies, spells, and goddesses are honored.

Elementary, My Dear

Light My Fire

A closeup of a bonfire to celebrate Beltane.

Many Celts immediately think of bonfires, as Beltane is a fire festival. Many families, friends, and neighborhoods hold elaborate fires as part of their festivities. These bonfires purify as you burn away the remnants of winter. Any stuck energy converts into power and life. 

What if you can not make a fire? Another idea is to use a pillar candle and place small twigs, flowers, or herbs around (naturally scented candles also are delightful), light the candle, and breathe deep while looking at the flame. Feel the trapped energy release and welcome the spring and renewal.

Arts and Crafts with Nature

A flower crown is a great way to celebrate Beltane.

No Beltane celebration would be complete without flowers and nature. You can craft simple hair wreaths with flowers, greens, and ribbons. Flower crowns make the perfect activity to do as a family. Or, how about making mini Maypoles to dance and twirl around?

Smudge Here, Smudge There

Sage bundles for smudging. Smudging is a great way to celebrate Beltane.

Have you ever smudged your home? The Spruce suggests sage (many varieties and the most popular to use), palo santo wood, or orange rinds. Prepare a small pot with sand to extinguish when done.

Now, light a candle, which in turn you will ignite your bundle. Have a small clay pot or shell to hold the lit bundle as you walk around.  

Begin by opening all doors and windows. Go to your front door and light the prepared smudge bundle. Walk around your house in a clockwise movement. Go slowly and let the smoke fill all the corners, nooks, and crannies. 

As you hit a staircase, go up or down and complete that level. Keep your thoughts positive and say a mantra if that helps you focus. When you have circled back to the front door, say a final chant, mantra, or prayer and extinguish the smudge into the sand pot.

Mantra ideas:

Out, out negative spirits, welcome in positive spirits

Bless this house, cleanse this house, empower those who pass through

Usher in happiness and peace

Cleanse my mind, my body, my soul, and my home

Give my home life, give my home peace, give my home love

You find other manta ideas at Out of Stress or create one that is meaningful to you. 

Look to Mother Earth

A woman alying in the grass and looking at the sky to reflect and celebrate Beltane.

It is no coincidence that the Beltane resides at the halfway point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. Beltane, in essence, glorifies the change of season and worships Mother Nature. 

Take time to really feel the earth—run around barefoot in the grass, sand, or dirt. Layback outside and look at the sky, clouds, and treetops. Sit outdoors or near a window and read some poetry or Celtic history.

Play or sing some Celtic music loudly and dance as silly as possible, releasing endorphins and resetting your body and spirit. 

Eat some decadent desserts, drink spring wine, open all your senses on Beltane!

Celebrate yourself and your sensuality. If you have a partner, connect with them (you know what we mean) in a creative way. 

The Mystic Realm

A fairy garden with a small door in a tree to celebrate Beltane.

The Seasonal Soul explains Samhain (Celtic version of a Halloween) and Beltane, which are opposite on the Wheel of the Year, are seen when the line between the living world and the magical world align. 

While with Samhain, the thinned veil between the worlds of the living and the dead allows us to connect with the dead, Beltane opens to the world of faeries and nature spirits. Faerie and spirit activity abound!

Faerie gardens are the in-thing right now. Look into creating one or gather small tokens to place outside in your bushes, flower beds, or planters. Wrap up some birdseed in a leaf and tie with natural twine, paint rocks, use crystals.

One of my elderly neighbors has a faerie garden near her front walk and a sign encouraging children to take or leave a token. She sets out little toys, flowers, and treasures for the kids, and the delight they both get is contagious. 

Know anything about casting a spell? The old saying put it out into the universe and will come back. Love spells and fertility spells are a Beltane ritual. 

Take Stock of your Life

A person journaling outdoors while laying on a tartan blanket to reflect during Beltane.

We all have those times of the year when we take stock of our lives, birthdays, New Year’s Day, anniversaries. Beltane marks a point in the year for reflection.

Take a journal outside, if you can, and think about what matters to you. Put in writing some of these thoughts. Prompt ideas:

What brings me joy? How can I find more time for it?

What brings me pain? How can I lessen this?

What am I spending energy on that is fruitful?

What is sapping my energy and never seems to resolve?

What is something simple that I can add or remind me to pause and reflect each day?

Who do I need to reconnect?

Are there people I need to disengage?

If I had more time, I would…

How do I find more time?

Happiness to me means…

My career goals include…

My dream job is what, and is there a way I can achieve it?

I could serve my family better by improving the way I…

Have I spent time working on my spirit and my soul?

Our Final Recommendation on How to Celebrate Beltane

A shrine to celebrate Beltane.

It does not take much for a Celt to join a celebration! And they will have the correct fashion from head to boot. Beltane, if you are not already honoring, this year is undeniably the one to start fresh. Cast out the old, useless energy and welcome in the positive spirits to your home and soul. 

beltane, Celtic celebrations, Celtic history, fire festivals
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