Beltane: Origins and How to Celebrate It

Beltane is one of the eight Wiccan sabbats, and it’s celebrated on the 1st of May, with festivities often beginning on the evening of April 30th. It is a magical, optimistic time – marking the beginning of spring and is a celebration of new life, beginnings, and potential.

Beltane is still widely marked by modern Wiccans and pagans today. If you’d like to embrace the joy of this sabbat and have a go at some Beltane rituals or recipes, you’ll find all the information you need to get started below!


Stefan Schäfer, Lich, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The word Beltane is Celtic, meaning ‘fires of Bel’ – Bel is one of the Celtic deities. As such, Beltane is a fire festival that celebrates fertility and the coming of summer. Traditionally, Beltane rituals often centered around courting couples. These pairs would collect blossoms in the forests and light fires together in the evenings. 

Fire was believed to purify, cleanse, and increase fertility. Therefore, as part of the celebrations, cattle were often passed between a pair of fires to help ensure the herd’s fertility.

Beltane Colors and Symbols

When it comes to colors, white and red are associated with the festival of Beltane, as are the crystals sapphire and heliotrope. The rabbit also closely corresponds with Beltane, so you may wish to place a drawing, photo, or small figure of this animal on your altar at this time.

The deities linked to this sabbat all tend to share a sense of mischief! They include Pan, Aphrodite, Venus, Eros, and Faunus.

Beltane Rituals

Butser Ancient Farm, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you’d like to celebrate the Wiccan sabbat of Beltane, there are plenty of lovely ways to do so! Wearing a flower crown, dancing around a Maypole, or going on a romantic date night with your partner are a few simple ideas to get you started. You could also try some of the ideas below to begin your Beltane celebrations.

Honoring the Divine Feminine

Celebrating feminine energy, sensuality, and fertility is what Beltane’s about, so honoring these things is a great way to mark this sabbat. You may wish to spend some time in meditation or prayer and connect with your inner feminine divine energy. You could also enjoy giving or receiving a massage and celebrating your female ancestors and relatives.

Build a Beltane Bonfire

If it can be done safely, you could even have a go at building a ceremonial bonfire or walking (extremely carefully) between two bonfires to promote purification and fertility. Enjoy some traditional Beltane Oat Cakes while relaxing before the blaze. You can find the recipe for this below! 

Beltane Candle Magic

If building a Beltane bonfire isn’t an option, then why not have a go at some candle magic to mark the sabbat? I love the peacefulness of this type of magic and find it a powerful tool to help with effective intention-setting.

Ideally, use a red or white candle for this ritual, and place it on a suitable plate or holder. You may wish to arrange some twigs, crystals, small rocks, or other elements of the Earth around the candle. Light the candle and look into the flame, sensing the power and energy of the fire. Allow its vibration to help you release old ways and habits, ready to move forward, with hope and love, into spring.

Sewing Seeds

Connect to the richness and fertility of the earth this Beltane by taking the opportunity to plant seeds in your garden. As you work, be mindful of the feeling of groundedness. Sense the solidity beneath your feet and your unique place in the world, too.

During this planting, or afterward, ask for the blessing of a bountiful harvest. You could use some of the flowers, fruits, or vegetables that you grow as offerings on your altar at subsequent sabbats if you wish.

Beltane Activities for Children

There are plenty of ways you can mark this beautiful Wiccan sabbat with kids. Gathering fresh flowers is a traditional Beltane tradition, so why not help your child make a simple paper basket and go out to collect a beautiful selection of wildflowers together? Once you’re done, brighten up your home with these blooms. Alternatively, leave the basket hung on the door of a neighbor or friend for a Beltane surprise!

You could also have a go at making herbal sachets with your children. Simply cut pieces of fabric into small squares and put small piles of dried flowers and herbs in the center. No sewing is needed, just show your kids how to gather up the edges and use ribbon to tie them to create small, fragrant pouches.

Beltane Recipes

Beltane Oat Cakes

These traditional Beltane oat cakes symbolize the roundness of the sun. If you’ll be enjoying a Beltane bonfire, it’s customary to throw small pieces of the cakes into the flames.


3 cups rolled oats
⅓ cup water
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh minced sage
½ tablespoon salt
½ cup butter


1- Gently heat the butter in a saucepan until melted, and then stir in the water.
2- Remove from heat and allow to cool.
3- Once cooled, pour into a large bowl and mix in all the other ingredients.
4- Mix to a dough-like consistency.
5- Pat out into small rounds and place on an ungreased baking tray.
6- Cook for around 40 mins at 350F.

Wildflower Pound Cake

Celebrate Beltane with this pretty pound cake, and serve up a slice of spring to your family or guests!


1 cup butter
1 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
1 ½ cups powdered sugar
5 eggs, separated
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup assorted edible flower petals


1- Cream the butter.
2- Sift the flour and then gradually add to the butter.
3- Beat the egg yolks until lemon-colored and thick, and then gradually add the sugar.
4- Combine both mixtures.
5- Beat the egg whites until stiff, then add to the mixture.
6- Sift the baking powder over the mixture, then beat thoroughly.
7- Fold in the edible flower pieces.
8- Turn the mixture into a deep, buttered cake pan.
9- Bake in the oven for about one hour at 350F.

Welcoming Beautiful Beltane

Celebrating the Wiccan festival of Beltane is a magical well to welcome in the spring and connect with the natural world around us and its cycles. There are many ways to mark Beltane – but whether you choose to honor it quietly, by planting seeds and performing peaceful candle magic, or see in the May with a fun Beltane party and bonfire – keep the spirit of the sabbat in your heart, and be mindful of the season’s shifts.


Featured Image Credit: Stub Mandrel, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Melanie Smith

Melanie Smith is a freelance content and creative writer from Gloucestershire. She lives in a funny little cottage with her daughter and cat, The Magical Mr. Bobo. Her blog posts and articles on the subjects of tarot, crystal healing, holistic wellness, and parenting feature regularly in magazines and websites around the world.