Seanchai ("Storyteller" in Irish) Library celebrates the Celtic tradition of stories told around the hearth or in the pub to friends, family, and welcomed strangers. Seanchai Libraries bring stories of all kinds to life, in Virtual Worlds: Second Life & Kitely on the Open Metaverse.
TUESDAY, May 5th at 7:00pm: BELTANE WITH THE QUEEN OF THE FAERIES
'09 Watercolor by Julia Helen Jeffrey
Today, May 5, is astrological Beltane, and a day to celebrate how close the lands of Faerie are at this time of year. So, Aoife arrives with tales and poems, her own and others, to bring the magic of the Fae to the Seanchai Library.
Beltane is mentioned in some of the earliest Irish literature and
it is associated with important events in Irish mythology. It marked 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 the
flames or embers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the
Beltane bonfire. These gatherings would be accompanied by a feast, and some of
the food and drink would be offered to the aos sí. 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