Known as Beltane in Gaelic traditions, the first of May, or May Day, has long been celebrated as the first day of Summer. Young maidens wear flowers in their hair, there is frolicking, flirtation, and perhaps a turn around the Maypole. As a pagan fertility rite, the sexual vitality that creates life is honored with fire festivals, and all kinds of dirty dancing.
May Day falls at the cross-quarter between the vernal equinox and summer solstice. In Northern Europe, it was often the time to lead grazing herds back out to the green mountains and pastures, and towns marked this with a parade of animals lead by the chosen May Queen. Some suggestions to welcome Summer -- surround yourself with flowers and growing things, create a ritual to honor your sexuality, host a daytime, outdoor party with fruits and vegetables of the season, put up your own Maypole!image (c) Beltane Fire Festival, Edinburgh