Beltane

Beltane

Other names: Beltane (Wiccan/Gaelic - various spellings), May Day/Novey Eve, Floralia (Roman) 

Traditional Date: November 1 (NH: May 1) 
2021 Astronomical Date: November 7 (NH: May 5)* 

Themes: Creativity, pleasure, activity 

Moon Phase: Waxing Gibbous 
Colours: Yellow, pink, light purples 
Native Botanicals: Balga, orchids 
Botanicals: Jacaranda, jasmine, orange, rose, dandelion, dill, hawthorn 
Incense: Orange, rose, vanilla 
Crystals: Clear quartz, sunstone 

Foods: Strawberries, oranges, oats/grain, honey, dairy, cakes, mead 

At Beltane/Floralia in Australia, we're balancing our Halloween celebrations with the tail end of spring. While the wildflower season is starting to peter off, most orchids are still flowering now, and the jasmine and jacarandas so popular for public plantings become hard to miss!

In Australia, in contrast with much of the Northern Hemisphere finishing up their harvest for the year, our grain harvest is just beginning! By this point most “pick your own” strawberry farms have often opened up to the public.

Linked/Coinciding Festivals:

  • Floralia (Pre-Christian Roman)
  • May Day (European/Germanic)
  • Lá Bealtaine/Cétshamhain (Irish Gaelic)
  • Calan Mai (Welsh)
  • Walpurgis Night (Christian/European)

Common Themes: Floralia, May Day, Bealtaine, and Calan Mai are all high spring festivals, involving flowers, dancing, celebrating fertility/sexuality. Bonfires are a central part of Bealtaine, Calan Mai and Walpurgis Night observances, with the primary purpose of protection, against supernatural figures (predominantly the aos sí and witches, but also other baneful spirits/magic, and bad luck/sorrow) as well as more practical threats (like pests and disease).

Modern celebrations of May Day, Beltane, Calan Mai, and Walpurgis night have all influenced each other to varying degrees over the past millennia or so, and some traditions associated with these are difficult to attribute to one source. A particular mystery is the May Pole, the first record of which is in 14th Century Britain, around which there are a number of theories about its original symbolism, but no particular evidence for any. Wiccans often claim that the May Pole began as a phallic symbol, although this is the most recent theory, and there has been no historical evidence found to support it.

Want some ideas on how to celebrate/observe this point of the year? Check out this post!

*: Southern Hemisphere dates based on Perth, WA (GMT+8); Northern Hemisphere dates based on GMT. Find the date/time based on 15 different timezones here.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.