Beltane – the beginning of summer

Bee on Rhododendron in my garden
Bee on Rhododendron in my garden

Today is Beltane. The sky is overcast and there is a slight chill in the air, but it feels as if a corner has been turned. It feels like summer.

At some point during these past few days, spring has left us. Many of the cool-weather crops I planted in March and early April are ready to be picked.

Tomato, beans and peppers are ready to be set out.

“Beltane is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun’s progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. The astronomical date for this midpoint is nearer to 5 May or 7 May, but this can vary from year to year.” (Wikipedia)

In the British Isles, Beltane marked the beginning of summer. I think the weather patterns are similar enough between here and the British Isles, that the seasonal holidays can apply here. Beltane is still acknowledged and celebrated by people in the British Isles and North America.

 Beltane and Samhain were the two festivals that defined the year in Ireland. Beltane the beginning and Samhain the end.

Beltane survived the Christianization of the British Isles by becoming May Day.

“Beltane is celebrated by the lighting of bonfires, making ‘May boughs’ or ‘May bushes’, dancing, singing, feasting. The practice of bedecking the May Bush/Dos Bhealtaine with flowers, ribbons, garlands and colored egg shells is found among the Gaelic diaspora, most notably in Newfoundland, and in some Easter traditions on the East Coast of the United States.” (Wikipedia)

Happy Beltane!

My nature calendar

For more about Beltane –



  1. Donna, This past week has reallly felt like the end of early Spring from a light perspective. It corresponds with Mayday.

    • Hi, Sean

      I know. There is that moment in spring when the season seems to flip. You can feel it.

      Right now it is early summer, here in Philly. By time the summer solstice arrives (June 20th) summer is half over.

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