The fire festival Beltane is celebrated on May Eve and May Day, ushering in summer and marking the opposite point of the wheel to Samhain.
Much like Samhain, in mythology and legend, Beltane marks a time when the veil between this world and the Otherworld is thin and transitions or communications between the two are believed to be most likely.
The etymology of the festival's name is from the Old Irish 'beltene' meaning 'bright fire' and traditionally, the bonfires of Beltane were lit as an emblem of purification in preparation for the summer's harvests.
Nowadays, many of the festivals Gaelic features have been amalgamated with the English and Germanic practices and symbols of 'May Day' which equally celebrates the fertility of the land as summer arrives. 'May blossom' (hawthorn) adorns houses, children dance around the maypole (whose red and white ribbons represent the feminine and masculine elements required for fertility) and an air of gay abandon permeates the celebrations.
It is a time to ignite your passion and creativity and there's no right or wrong way to do so: beat a drum to envoke the energies of the season; light a bonfire if space permits or an warm coloured candle if not; dance, run and most importantly, give yourself over to instinct and natural desire. Blessed Beltane everyone - enjoy!