Friday, April 30, 2010

Beltane Eve

It's hard having your birthday coincide with a holiday. While everyone else gets to celebrate both the holiday in question and their birthday, those of us with birthdays on the holiday have the celebrations fused. We always are left imagining what we're missing.

For example, I've always felt strange about my birthday falling on Beltane Eve. While others are out cavorting around campfires and celebrating the thinning of the veil between worlds, I'm often stuck with a piece of cake and a half-hearted rendition of "Happy Birthday." Alas.

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For those of you not in the know, Beltane is a cross-quarter day, falling roughly halfway between the Vernal Equinox and the Summer Solstice. Cross-quarter days were observed as pagan holidays in Sweden, Norway, Finland, England and Ireland, and continue to be observed as neopagan holidays. In fact, we often celebrate these days, though without our full awareness as to their origins. The first cross-quarter day on our annual calendar, Imbolc, falls around February 2nd, which we observe as Groundhog Day. Beltane, around May 1st, is May Day. November 1st, Samhain, is observed as Halloween, and August 1st, Lughnasadh, is... usually... hot.

My mom told me that I was born so close to midnight that there was some question whether to list April 30th or May 1st as my birthday. Beltane Eve or Beltane. Either way, there was a thinning of the veils which I'll observe again tonight (I'm guessing beer will be involved -- most likely Tricerahops Double IPA from Ninkasi Brewing Company). And then tomorrow I'll walk or ride through the neighborhood, noting the beginnings of leaves on the Hawthorne and Mountain Ash trees, other sure signs that we've reached a cross-quarter day, and a change of seasons.

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