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5 Ways to Celebrate May Day with your Family this Weekend

Updated: Feb 23, 2023

Beltane also known as May Day, is the time of year when the weather begins to warm up. It is the time when nature wakes up. We begin to feel that we have more energy and we want to spend more time outdoors in nature.


Traditionally Beltane is the celebration of fertility and was widely observed by Gaelic and Celtic people. When animals went out to Summer pastures. Where fires were lit to protect livestock. Food was cooked on the fire and people sang together. In some areas may bushes were decorated with flowers, shells and ribbons, and people danced around them.


Here are five ideas of way you could celebrate this weekend.


Go on a fairy hunt

One of my favourite things to do when my children were little and when I ran a childcare setting was to take the children on a fairy hunt. To be honest, I quite enjoy this on my own, lol. Simply a walk in nature, somewhere near home and look out for places where fairies might live. Perhaps a hole in a tree.


If it’s raining, getting togged up in your wellies and waterproofs can make it even more fun. Where do the fairies hide when it’s raining? Maybe you’ll find leaves which they use like umbrellas. Maybe you’ll find petals which look like fairy dresses. Maybe you’ll find seeds pods or acorn shells which look like fairy hats.


You could collect ‘nature treasure’ (sticks, stones, pine cones etc) to take home for a craft project to make fairies or animals. If you don’t have woodland, fields or parkland near you, maybe there are fairies hiding in trees growing in pavements/sidewalks.


Plant Seeds

Planting seeds and watching them grow is a great way to celebrate nature’s fertility. It’s also great for teaching children how plants grow and where food comes from. Growing seeds can be done even if you don’t have any outdoor space. Growing a bean in a glass jar with some kitchen paper works well.


Lighting a Fire

The second part of the word Beltane, “taine” means “fire”. Traditionally a community fire would have been lit at Beltane and families would have put out their household fires and relit them from the Beltane fire.


Having a fire in the garden, if you have one, can be a lovely way to spend time together outdoors, even if the weather isn’t great. A metal colander placed on a paving slab can be a cheap and simple way to contain a small fire. This is also a good opportunity to teach children about fire safety.


It’s amazing how many things you can cook on an open fire. Baked potatoes or sweet potatoes, wrap veg in foil and place in the fire. You could whittle sticks or use skewers to make toast, or toast marshmallows. For dessert, cutting the side of a banana and putting chocolate inside, then wrapping in foil and placing in the fire until the chocolate melts can be really yummy.


Going camping

If you’re able to safely (covid allowing) get away to go camping this bank holiday weekend, it can be a wonderful way to connect with nature and with each other as a family. Camping with my family is my all-time favourite thing to do. If you aren’t going away, you could set up a tent in the garden if you have one. Of if you don’t have a garden, you could make a tent with sheets in your home and pretend to have a camping trip. This can be just as exciting for children as actually going away (and much less work for you!).


Dance

If you don’t have access to outdoor space, dancing together indoors can be a lovely way to celebrate and have fun together. If you have young children perhaps you could pretend to be spring lambs and see who could jump the highest. In my family we love to do crazy dances to rock music.


I’d love to know if you try any of these, or what your ideas are. Comment below with what you got up to this May Day weekend. It's my birthday on Monday, so I will be celebrating with my family. This evening we are having a fire and cooking sweet potaoes.

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