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Adirondack Lifestyle ™: May 1, 2010

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy Beltane / May Day!

Beltane, traditionally celebrated around the world during the first week of May, is one of the holidays of the ancient Pagan calendar. This calendar is the pre-Christian cycle of the seasons that is based on what some call the Natural Religion or Earth-based practice. Also known as the Midspring holiday, Beltane has influenced Christian tradition and shows up as Holy Cross Day May 3, and in political tradition it's a holiday about labor and productivity (May Day) rather than of creation. There is a relationship, of course, but it's abstracted.
The simplest meaning of Beltane is each spring, the Earth's life is renewed, and we are given a fresh chance to live. While some people may view this metaphorically today, in earlier times there were no guarantees of surviving winter. Harsh climates throughout Europe and elsewhere in the Northern Hemisphere, and many unchecked diseases, compounded by lack of supplies and medicine, provided long and challenging months. Emerging with one's life intact in the warmth and renewal of spring was something to celebrate. That concept is not necessarily purely metaphorical in the Adirondacks.
If you want to get into the Beltane spirit watch and listen to "The Mummer's Dance" by Loreena McKennitt.
When in the springtime of the year
When the trees are crowned with leaves
When the ash and oak, and the birch and yew
Are dressed in ribbons fair...

-- Loreena McKennitt