Saturday, 30 April 2022

Happy Beltane!

Welcome to Day 30 of my April daily blogs to do with the writing of Before Beltane.

Beltane is in the titles of 2 of my Historical Fiction Celtic Fervour Series, though why Beltane? (alternative spellings may be: Bealtaine/ Beltain)

Beltane literally means shining/bright fire, and the Beltane festival has a central fertility theme. Beltane, the end of spring festival, is celebrated roughly half-way between the Vernal equinox and the Summer Solstice. The festival traditionally marked the arrival of the summer, Beltane being one of the larger and more important Celtic festivals. Imbolc heralded the Spring; Beltane the summer; Lughnasadh the autumn and Samhain the winter.

It’s believed by some historians that the Beltane festival was celebrated on the day that the group of stars named the Pleiades appeared on the horizon, at sunrise. Nowadays, it is celebrated by neo-pagans and interested onlookers on a fixed day, the 1st May. You'd need to be up pretty early in my part of the world, to know if that happens this year on the 30th April into the 1st May! Googling it tells me it should happen at 05:21 hrs. 

For the Ancient 'Celtic' Iron Age tribes of Britain, the rituals of Beltane heralded a time of optimism and hope that the coming seasons would be fruitful for the land, the animals and the people. Abundant crops and productive animals were crucial to survival, living off the land the way of life for them as most Celtic tribes were basically farmers. The rituals of the festival were therefore designed to encourage successful growth for the animals and crops. Driving the animals through a 'fire-corridor' was designed to purify them, and to rid them of potentially deadly disease. Fertility of the tribe may also have been an important feature of this particular festival. I leave that bit to your imagination. 

My late Iron Age tribal characters in the Celtic Fervour Series celebrate Beltane when they can – though the invading Roman Legions spoil their festivals on quite a few occasions over the duration
of the series which span a generation!  Beathan of Garrigill, who is the main character in Book 5 of the series, is the amazingly capable son of Lorcan and Nara. Spoiler alert here would be that Bethan is conceived during a Beltane Festival in Book 1. You can work out why this current Prequel to the series is called BEFORE BELTANE and Book 1 is called THE BELTANE CHOICE. 


Tonight into the 1st May 2022, will see a re-start of the Beltane Festival on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Scotland,  after having had to go online due to Covid restrictions. I've never been to view it, but obviously would love to be there. 

You can buy Before Beltane  HERE since it really is properly launched now! 

Happy Reading.

SlĂ inte!

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