Beltane


Bel·tane

noun \ˈbel-ˌtān, -tin\

Definition of BELTANE

:  the Celtic May Day festival

Origin of BELTANE

Middle English (Scots), May 1 or 2, from Scottish Gaelic bealltain
First Known Use: 15th century

Beltane

noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

In Celtic religion, a festival held on the first day of May, celebrating the beginning of summer and open pasturing. Beltane was one of two turning points in the year, the other being November 1 (Samhain), the start of winter. At both, the bounds between the human and supernatural worlds were erased. On May Eve, witches and fairies roamed freely, and measures had to be taken against their enchantments. As late as the 19th century in Ireland, cattle were driven between two bonfires on Beltane as a magical means of protecting them from disease. See also Halloween.

Variants of BELTANE

Beltane or Beltine or Cétsamain

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: belt conveyor
Previous Word in the Dictionary: belt–and–suspenders
All Words Near: Beltane

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up Beltane? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).