Our ancestors called this period, when nature is full of vigour and fertility, the month of joy. On the night of 30 April, young people would go singing from house to house. The sun of May and rose petal baths made young girls in search of a husband even more beautiful. Villages would elect and crown a May Queen, who was admired in a niche decorated with hawthorn flowers. A “green man” covered with moss and leaves was taken about, accompanied by singing, and a handsome boy and pretty girl were dubbed the “May fiancés”. It was customary to drive livestock between two fires in order to purify and bless them before they were taken to pasture.
The May Tree
Ribbons, symbolising the links between destiny and life, were woven around a May Tree by twelve couples. May baskets containing flowers and sweets were secretly left on the doorsteps of friends and family members, and young men left small trees beneath the windows of their sweethearts.
Beltane, or May Day, was considered the bridge leading from spring to summer.