Beltane Blessings meaning: May Day's Gaelic greeting explained

Eve Edwards May 1, 2021
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

This May Day, we explore the meaning of ‘Beltane Blessings’ to mark the beginning of summer.

May Day comes around annually on 1 May or around that date. The festival, with pagan roots, welcomes in warmer weather and the natural changes that summertime brings. Old customs such as Morris dancing and the maypole are used to mark the event.

May Day is also known as International Workers’ Day, or Labour Day. It is celebrated by druids and pagans as the beginning of summer.

We also see use of old Gaelic greetings, which may be new or unheard of except on May Day. Find out about ‘Beltane Blessings’ here.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

What is the meaning of Beltane?

Beltane, or Beltain as its also spelled, is the Gaelic May Day festival.

The word ‘Beltane’ comes from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, which means the ‘bright one’ and the Gaelic word ‘teine’ which means fire according to reports.

Together, the word means ‘bright fire’. The use of this word is appropriate for May Day, given that bonfires were were traditionally lit in honour of the sun.

Beltane Blessings on May Day

This May Day is being celebrated on Saturday 1 May 2021.

The morning of May Day has seen an outpouring of ‘Beltane Blessings’ on social media.

One Twitter user wrote: “Beltane Blessings, light the fire, and dance to the sweet song of the dawn chorus and embrace the coming festive season”

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