Beltane

Definitions

  • Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Beltane A festival of the heathen Celts on the first day of May, in the observance of which great bonfires were kindled. It still exists in a modified form in some parts of Scotland and Ireland.
    • Beltane The first day of May (Old Style). "The quarter-days anciently in Scotland were Hallowmas, Candlemas, Beltane , and Lammas."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n Beltane The first day of May (old style); old Mayday, one of the four quarter-days (the others being Lammas, Hallow-mass, and Candlemas) anciently observed in Scotland.
    • n Beltane An ancient Celtic festival or anniversary formerly observed on Beltane or May-day in Scotland, and in Ireland on June 21st. Bonfires were kindled on the hills, all domestic fires having been previously extinguished, only to be relighted from the embers of the Beltane fires. This custom is supposed to derive its origin from the worship of the sun, or fire in general, which was formerly in vogue among the Celts as well as among many other heathen nations. The practice still survives in some remote localities.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Beltane bel′tān an ancient Celtic heathen festival, held in the beginning of May, when bonfires were lighted on the hills: the first day of May (O.S.)—one of the four old quarter-days of Scotland, the others being Lammas, Hallowmas, and Candlemas
    • adj Beltane in Beltane games, &c
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Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gael. bealltainn, bealltuinn,

Usage

In literature:

Beltane = Beal-tein, or the fire of Beal, a Gaelic name for the sun.
"The Lady of the Lake" by Sir Walter Scott
Beltane, Druidical fire festival.
"Legends of Charlemagne" by Thomas Bulfinch
The name of the old festival of Beltane still lingers on the hill.
"Ireland, Historic and Picturesque" by Charles Johnston
The following account of Beltane is extracted from a chapter dealing with Highland superstitions.
"Balder The Beautiful, Vol. I." by Sir James George Frazer
But it should be remembered that Lug is not associated with the true solar festivals of Beltane and Midsummer.
"The Religion of the Ancient Celts" by J. A. MacCulloch
The Professor is also mistaken in stating that the Beltane fair of Peebles was to be kept for eight days.
"Folk Lore" by James Napier
Beltane, a festival on the first of May, hence Whitsuntide.
"St. Ronan's Well" by Sir Walter Scott
She will have sat out the Beltane fires wid him, darlin', and certain that'll be the raison why!
"Patsy" by S. R. Crockett
A gowk at Yule 'll no be bright at Beltane.
"The Proverbs of Scotland" by Alexander Hislop
The fuel was piled on a hill-top, and at the fire the beltane cake was cooked.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Slice 5" by Various
A relic of this worship lingered until recently in the Beltane fires that were lit on the high hills of Scotland and Ireland.
"Holidays & Happy-Days" by Hamish Hendry
Compare also BELTANE and BONFIRE.
"Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 12, Slice 8" by Various
There hae seven men o' Moodlaw and Yardbire fa'en sin Beltan.
"The Three Perils of Man, Vol. 2 (of 3)" by James Hogg
This form of the Beltane superstition was observed in the north of England, and in Scotland, about fifty years ago.
"Nooks and Corners of English Life, Past and Present" by John Timbs
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In news:

Beltane Ranch: From 'Dusty Place' to ' Mammy 's Place.
The Southern-style house built by Mary Ellen Pleasant at Beltane Ranch in Glen Ellen is now a bed-and-breakfast inn.
The Beltane Ranch living room.
Fertility ritual and Sex Magick for Ostara and Beltane.
After honing its chops at local festivals and cafes, Boise folk quintet Beltane dropped its self- titled debut in May.
In both its press materials and its name--an homage to the Irish and Scottish spring festival celebrated primarily by pagans--Beltane calls its sound Celtic music.
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