Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dang, I'm late, but I have a good excuse!

Yesterday was May 1st...Beltane. It's the #2 holiday of the year for Pagans. I don't care for the term 'pagan' since it's been loaded with negative connotations it doesn't deserve. But if you were to associate what 'pagan' means for many people with any holiday, it would be Beltane. Beltane is all about fertility--and that means S-E-X.

The great rite is an ancient term for having sex. It was considered very spiritual, very natural, and on Beltane it was celebrated--sometimes openly. My excuse for being a day late for my blog post...I was celebrating Beltane! Oh, yeah. We celebrated the hell out of it! LOL.

Nothing public. Don't worry, we're not crazy. But in ancient times, a bonfire would be lit and it was often the one night of the year a committed couple was allowed to have sex with different partners, going off into the woods or up a grassy hill, etc.

I'm not about to let Mr. Ashlyn celebrate like that! No, I don't hold with all the pagan traditions and customs. But I like to celebrate holidays--all holidays--in my own way. I take what's fun or makes sense to me and add it to my tradition.

I celebrate gift giving at Christmas. I celebrate brunch on Easter. I celebrate non-religious holidays the way anyone else would. Cookouts on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, and when it comes to Halloween, for me it's Samhain and a celebration of candy and honoring my ancestors.

It's crazy how mixed up our cultures have become. Some people might say, "Pick a side and stick to it!" I don't. I was touring an old New Orlean's graveyard a few years ago, and when we came to the gravesite of Marie Laveau, the most famous voodoo priestess of all time, a Texas couple was agast to find out she was buried in a Christian cemetary. Why wouldn't she be? It was the a very French part of the world, and the French are usually Catholics. When the guide said many voodoo practitioners were also Catholics, I thought the woman was going to faint.

When I was a kid, we celebrated, "May Day" by picking flowers and putting them in little baskets we made out of construction paper. Then we hung them on our neighbors doorknobs, rang the bell and ran away. I don't know if that was common where you grew up, but that's a tradition I enjoyed. When I was in nursing school, I did it for the whole dorm. No ringing doorbells though--since we didn't have them. But it was great fun to see some of my classmates return to their rooms from outside and discover a flower basket on their doors.

So, what crazy, mixed-up traditions do you have to celebrate a certain day--any day? Your birthday even...my birthday is my own personal holiday. I haven't worked on my birthday since I was 21. Except for writing. I don't consider this work, even though it is. I write almost every day of the year. Yes, i took a few minutes to write on Beltane too.

Happy Spring everyone! Go forth and be prolific!

8 comments:

Wynter Daniels said...

Beltane sounds like a fun holiday;-) We celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, which my kids have always loved - double the gifts, double the traditions and fun. We always do it up at Halloween, my personal favorite.

Mai said...

Beltane sounds great, especially if your sharing it with someone special. Glad you enjoyed yours Ash! LOL My birthday is always a big deal celebrate all week, take that day off, then party that weekend, allways have fun. Christmas is still my favorite holiday, even as an adult.

Rayna said...

I'm glad you combine holidays too Wynter. Especially those two! Our dear friend Dalton does that too.

And Mai, I'm so glad someone else makes as big a deal of their birthday as I do! LOL. To me it's an opportunity to say, "Thanks for my birth!" When a loved one has a birthday, it's an opportunity to say, "I'm glad you were born!"

Ash

Cara McKenna said...

Hey, my birthday's today! And I wrote three thousand words. Go figure, on the day I get to do whatever I want, I chose to work. Or maybe I'm just getting paid to do what I love most—jackpot.

I also got my very first royalty check yesterday, late and modest, but four times what I'd been hoping for. I deposited it today and immediately spent roughly ten percent of it on champagne. I am clearly not an accountant.

Jina Bacarr said...

Ashlyn, I enjoyed reading about Beltane--thankz for the great info!

For centuries in Japan up to the time Perry's "black ships" brought Western ideas to the land (mid 19th century), losing your virginity was called "selling spring."

Some very enterprising courtesans found it profitable to sell spring more than once...

Michelle Polaris said...

Well I didn't celebrate Beltane in the traditional way. DH was not in the same state as I was and neither of us have perfected psychic long distance sex. But my family does celebrate the Jewish New Year by baking a Happy Birthday cake to the world. The kids always love an excuse for cake and singing. And the world does deserve a party like everyone else.

Adele Dubois said...

Ash--Terrific post. Several years ago I was surprised to learn that Christian holidays are steeped in ancient pagan rituals. Over the centuries traditions blended and transformed into something new.

Best--Adele Dubois

Dalton Diaz said...

Yep, we celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah, and are happy to celebrate anything else that comes our way! Equal opportunity partiers, here. I remember when we first moved to the east coast from Calif, and we decided to have a Cinco de Mayo celebration feast. No one knew what it was, and they all ate before they came.

Happy late birthday, Cara!