I'm pretty sure everyone has heard of May Day which occurs on May 1st, but did you know that this day is also known as Beltane to the pagans? This day falls in between the winter and summer solstice. The May Day or Beltane festival is basically a party to celebrate the union of the God and Goddess. It is a time of fire and fertility.
This is when the earth begins to wake up and be renewed. This is the time of planting so there is available food for the year. The celebrations usually start on the night before with huge bonfire. The Maypole dance begins around sunrise on the 1st of May.
It appears that this custom started in Britain and lasted for many years until the Puritanical leaders decided this was not the way to celebrate the rebirth of life. In the nineteenth century, the tradition itself had a rebirth of sorts. A man by the name of John Ruskin brought the tradition back by placing Victorian Maypoles for the church festivities of May Day.
However, this time around, there was still dancing around the May Pole, but not with the wild abandon of years before. The dance was more organized and structured this time so as to be more family friendly.
For Pagans, this celebration is about life! The earth is awakening, and we give thanks to the God and the Goddess in hopes of strong crops, healthy animals, and new life all around.
Heck what better reason to hold a bonfire! I believe in the Southern Hemisphere this holiday is in Oct 31-Nov 1 due to the seasons being different from us here in the Northern Hemisphere. This is a celebration of new life and renewal of the earth. The union of the God and Goddess bring about this change and this holiday celebrates that union. It's a fun day full of festivities and dancing and good food. What more could a person ask for?
Have a great day!