Our family celebration of Bealtaine (May Day)

Our family celebration of Bealtaine (May Day)

We were delighted with the arrival of Bealtaine (May Day) as the Sun was shining, the air was warming up and we had the hope of warmer days and garden growth.

We have been observing the “unfurling” of nature as a family… the first call of the cuckoo, the arrival of our beloved house martins, the scents and perfumes in the air as the gorse blossoms and our familiar hedgerow plans arrive one by one. The season was bursting upon us and we wanted to mark the occasion, together as a family.

The lovely Rowan Tree
The lovely Rowan Tree


Bealtaine has long been an important event in the old Celtic calendar. The Festival of Fire… it marked the beginning of Summer. We decided it was an event worth celebrating so I gathered the clan and we discussed what we wanted to do to mark the day.

The Rowan tree played a very important part in Bealtaine ceremonies and customs, thought to hold magical powers of healing and protection it was used to protect families, livestock and produce. It was an ancient practice to bring sprigs of the tree into the house on May Day eve and place some at the windows and doors to keep the house safe and bind it in the Rowan’s protective magic.

We have a beautiful Rowan tree just outside our kitchen window. Planted as a young sapling we watch it mark the passing of the seasons as it grows tall and proud. In fact we have such a liking for this tree that it inspired our third child’s name! The flowers are just emerging on the tree at the moment, soon they will delight us with their heady scent. We felt we must include it in our little celebration.

It is also customary to tie ribbon to trees on May Day and it is a good day to make wishes for the season ahead. We decided to combine the Rowan, the ribbons and the wishes into our little ceremony.

For the wishes….. I found some pretty wooden heart shapes and ribbons in a local discount shop.

It was simple to punch holes in the heart (well simple for my husband once I recruited him!) and thread them with the pretty ribbons.

These would serve as our little wish tokens.

Our little May Day "wishes"
Our little May Day “wishes”


We decorated the Rowan tree with our little tokens, each making their own wish as we did so. Obviously nobody wished for good weather, because it has been raining ever since!


Decorating our "May Day Tree"
Decorating our “May Day Tree”


We then gathered sprigs from the tree to decorate and protect our home. This part really upset our youngest who did not appreciate us cutting bits off HIS tree. He was only mildly placated when he was allowed place a sprig on the windowsill of his bedroom!


Rowan to protect our home
Rowan to protect our home


It was a short and simple ceremony, but I am so glad we did it. It was lovely to get the whole family involved in deciding how we wanted to mark this special day.

If you would like a lovely craft project for Bealtaine, check out this post on the beautiful “Where Wishes Come from” blog.


Did you do anything special to mark Bealtaine? If so let us know in the comments below!