In days gone past, Beltane was symbolic contact with the sun, and a time to mark the second half of the ancient Celtic year (it's counterpart being Samhain).
Heralding the beginning of the summer it was a time when the ancients put their cattle out to pasture, to the outlying fields. Their drive through the corridor of Beltane fires was a ritual to cleanse them of any ills, to purify them and to keep them from harm during the coming moons (months). Harm could come in the form of sickness, or weather related ills but there were also the predatory aspects of cattle raids by neighbouring tribes. The animals of a small hillfort were essential for many things. Cows provided milk and meat, but they were also counted as riches.
When possible, it's thought that the druids conducted these ceremonies, incanting prayers to the gods to ensure good health for animals and possibly the people as well.
I've written Beltane rites into two of my historical novels but the ceremony has been symbolic in different ways. In The Beltane Choice,
of the Selgovae has had
a challenge to work towards before and during the Beltane ceremony. Many interventions
have derailed her original purpose after the story begins just a few weeks
before Beltane. Does she have her Beltane Choice? You can grab a copy from Amazon at only 99p if
you're very quick! Nara
In The Taexali Game, because the book's readership is intended for a wider audience, including younger readers of 10+, I have described my vision of a Beltane Ceremony. It's a very exciting time for my three young time travellers from Kintore but it was especially exciting for Fianna.
Enjoy Beltane whatever you do, today.