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May 1st, 2006

Happy Beltane!

Today is a special day for Halloween lovers, since we're at exactly the opposite end of the year. So, without further adieu, here's a special little treat to help you celebrate your quarter-day, from The Halloween Encyclopedia:

"BELTANE – The ancient Celtic festival held on May 1st, or exactly six months from Samhain (November 1). Beltane was one of the two great festivals celebrated by the Celts, and was also an important quarter day; on this day fertility rituals were enacted, and the herds were driven out to pasture for the summer. Beltane was celebrated with many of the practices also found on Samhain, such as bonfires, feasting and sacrifices; and, like Halloween, it was a night when fairies and witches were abroad, making mischief (as at Halloween, rowan branches were placed above doorways on Beltane). In modern times Beltane is celebrated as May Day; in some areas of Europe, the night of April 30th is celebrated as Walpurgisnacht. Beltane is also one of the eight sabbats celebrated by practitioners of Wicca."

Now play safe when you practice those fertility rituals, kids!