Our ancient ancestors were more in touch with nature and the changing seasons than we are today. The Celtic Calendar, which pre-dates, Christianity, marked the changing seasons and associated Festivals. This calendar is still observed in Ireland today, particularly in the world of farming and outdoor activity where 1st May is the first day of Summer. The most significant festivals celebrated by our ancestors were:
1st May Bealtaine (flowering of the seeds, new crops, new life, Summer)
1st August Lúnasa (harvesting of the crops, end of Summer growth, Autumn)
1st November Samhain (preparing for Winter, darkness, spirits of Otherworld)
1st February Imbolc (fertility, renewal, beginning of growth, Spring)
Many of the traditions associated with the festivals are still observed in Ireland today. On 1st May (Lá Bealtaine) in some parts of the country yellow flowers are sprinkled on doorsteps or tied to front doors of houses to bring protection. Bonfires are lit in villages, on hilltops or at crossroads.
There has, in recent years, been a revival of the festival as a cultural event. One of the most inspiring celebrations is the nationwide Bealtaine Festival organised by Age and Opportunity to celebrate creativity as we age. Over 120,000 people now take part in the in various activities.
At Deblaca Jewellery on Lá Bealtaine we celebrate the brightness, creativity and flowering of ideas that inspire our designs. www.deblaca.ie