Beltane is celebrated on May 1 with some festivities beginning the evening of April 30th.
What is Beltane?
Beltane is a festival of flowers, fertility, sensuality, and delight. It is one of the major Wiccan holidays and has its roots in Gaelic traditions. It is a fire festival that celebrates the coming of summer and the fertility of the coming year. It is a time to rejoice in the blooming flowers and the budding trees of Spring. It is a time of celebrating the union of the God and Goddess and the fertility that will produce the abundance of the harvest that will come. It is the time of sowing seeds and a few wild oats.
Ways to celebrate Beltane?
Decorate your house with fresh flowers, or take this opportunity to plant your flowerbeds and plan your gardens. Do a little spring cleaning and open up the windows to let the fresh spring breeze in. Spend time celebrating the beauty of nature.
May Pole – dancing around the May Pole is a tradition in many cultures and has been a part of Beltane celebrations for centuries.
Bonfires are closely associated with Beltane with the name deriving from a Celtic word for fire. Each year in Edinburgh there is a large Beltane Festival that people travel from all over the world to attend.
Cakes and Ale
There is a tradition that you celebrate Wiccan holidays with cakes and ale, simply put food and drink. There is a magic that happens when you prepare food to feed and nurture your friends and family. I use traditional homemade honey mead at all my celebrations because I love it but you can have wine, iced tea or whatever you prefer. As far as cakes, it can be as simple as preparing dinner or as extravagant as preparing an assortment of cakes and pastries. It’s up to you. What you serve is not as important as the act of sharing food and fellowship.
Here are a few Beltane related recipes you can try.
Scottish Bannocks or Oatcakes
It's said that if you eat one on Beltane morning, you'll be guaranteed abundance for your crops and livestock.
- 1 1/2 cups oatmeal
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp butter or bacon grease
- 1/2 cup HOT water
Combine oatmeal, salt and baking soda in a bowl. Melt the butter, and drizzle it over the oats. Add the water, and stir the mix until it forms a stiff dough. Turn the dough out on a sheet of wax paper and knead thoroughly.
Separate the dough into two equal portions, and roll each one into a ball. Use a rolling pin to make a flat pancake that is about ¼" thick. Cook your oatcakes on a griddle over medium heat until they are golden brown. Cut each round into quarters to serve.
To serve, split the bannocks and spread with butter.
Traditionally, the bannock is made with animal fat (such as bacon grease), and it is placed in a pile of embers, on top of a stone, to cook in the fire. Once it’s blackened on both sides, it can be removed, and eaten with a blend of eggs and milk.
During Beltane these cakes are left in the garden as an offering to the fae (fairy folk). They’re also delicious.
- 1/2 cup sweet white wine
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 cup honey
- 2/3 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- Oil for frying
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- Beat the wine & egg in a medium bowl. Combine the flour, cinnamon, salt & sugar in a small bowl. Stir into the egg mixture. Let stand 30 minutes. Combine the honey & nutmeg in a small bowl.
- Heat 1/2-inch of the oil in a frying pan until hot, but not smoking. Drop the batter into the oil 1 tablespoon at a time; fry until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dip into the honey.
This post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. View my past posts for the challenge HERE
Learn more about this annual challenge and how to join