Beltane is a Pagan holiday that takes place on May 1st in the northern hemisphere and November 1st in the southern hemisphere. In Wicca this type of holiday is called a Sabbat. Beltane is the first day of the bright half of the year. This day is used to celebrate the flowering of life and the spring plants that are now fully awake after sleeping during the winter months. Beltane is also known as May Day, May Eve and Walpurgis Night.

The smoke and fire of Beltane are meant to bring good luck to all people and animals that pass through it. This is where the act of jumping over fires in Wicca and Witchcraft originate. The men would first jump over the fire wishing for good luck. When the flames died down and were lower the females would jump over and do the same. After the fire had died down enough so that only smoke was rising the children were briefly passed through it, in careful hands, to ensure they would have good luck as well. The Druids were known to pass their cattle through the smoke of a Beltane fire to protect them. The Beltane fire is made from nine different types of wood.

The two most common activities on Beltane are the lighting of the Bonfires and dancing around the May Pole. The gathering of flowers to exchange with others is also a well known practice. The dew that rest on the plants before the sun rises on Beltane is said to bring health, luck and beauty if you wash your face with it. Water used for rituals and spells can also be collected from fresh springs or any natural running water source on this day.

The food cooked on Beltane is normally made from early or cool season vegetables. A few you might want to try are radishes, lettuce, beets, cabbage, asparagus, rhubarb, broccoli, kohlrabi, spinach, chard, brussel sprouts and peas. All of those could be used alone or in combination with each other to make soups, garnishes, salads and other delicious dishes.

The main decoration for Beltane is fresh flowers. Women often braid the flowers into their hair, make flower necklaces and floral crowns while chatting and sitting together in a circle. The whole point is to have fun and be “alive” in spirit just as the plants and animals are. Herbs are also used in combination with the flowers and contribute their own aromas.