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Beltane Blessings meaning: May Day's Gaelic greeting explained

Eve Edwards May 1, 2022
beltane meaning
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

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

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

Beltane is celebrated by druids and pagans as an acknowledgement of the start of summer but trade unionists celebrate May Day as International Workers’ Day or Labour Day.

On May Day you may also hear the use of old Gaelic greetings. Find out about ‘Beltane Blessings’ here.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

What is the meaning of Beltane?

Beltane, or Beltain as it is sometimes spelled, is the pagan May Day festival.

The word ‘Beltane’ derives from the Celtic God ‘Bel’, whose name means ‘bright one’, and the Gaelic word ‘teine’, which means fire, Goddess And Greenman reports.

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

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Beltane Blessings on May Day

This May Day is being celebrated on Sunday, 1 May 2022.

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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Eve spends her days writing about everything culture-related. From celebrity news to music, film and television, Eve covers all bases. When she’s not writing you can find her making music or mastering the art of homemade pasta.