Monday, 6 May 2013

Beltane Festival at Celtic Harmony in Hertfordshire

Today is a holiday in England and luckily the weather is a gorgeous 22 degrees and sunny! We headed towards Hertford to attend a Beltane Festival at the Iron Age education centre Celtic Harmony.

Beltane is the Gaelic May Day celebration. It marks the beginning of summer and was when cattle were driven out to the summer pastures. Rituals were performed to protect the cattle, crops and people, and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled, and their flames, smoke and ashes were deemed to have protective powers. The people and their cattle would walk around the bonfire, or between two bonfires, and sometimes leap over flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire. Doors, windows, byres and the cattle themselves would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush; a thorn bush decorated with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. Holy wells were also visited, while Beltane dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness. Many of these customs were part of May Day or Midsummer festivals in other parts of Great Britain and Europe.

Isaac was not very well so we did not stay for the music, dance and ritual (this evening), I was looking forward to it but I guess these things can wait till the boys are older. They enjoyed the time there and we liked using Celtic money instead of pounds. This is what we did today:

Walking into the site you can see the chieftain roundhouse on the right

First stop: sand pit

The play area was nice

The boys were captivated by the ravens

Campfire and basket weaving

They spent ages trying to send the smoke the other way!

We loosely followed a trail around the woods, I have to say it was
one of the best we've done, magical!

The event was sold out but not over booked and the atmosphere
was relaxed and very friendly

Exploring the woods

We were very excited by this but never found him... there was a storyteller
in that direction though

Our last activity, Reuben tried archery, he was very good but such a
perfectionist! He got upset he hit the target but the arrow didn't stick,
I heard him say to the instructor: I only have little arms...

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful way to spend a Bank Holiday. Special memories.
    I wondered if you might be interest in blogging about a forthcoming Save the Children report. If you would like to know more, please drop me an email on


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