May Day

May Day is one of four Gaelic Festivals that quarter the journey of the earth around the sun. Each of these four lie halfway between the four other great cosmic days: Winter Solstice, Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice and Fall Equinox. I’m particularly fond of these in between festivals.

Beltane, on May 1, lies halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. I dearly love this time of year with flower crowns, flying ribbons and going round and round the Maypole!

Lammas, on August 1, lies halfway between summer solstice and fall equinox. It’s a wheat harvesting festival that I need to study more. Since it falls when school is out, I haven’t celebrated Lammas before. It shows up in some of our songs about harvesting the wheat at the start of school.

Samhain on October 31/November 1 lies halfway between fall equinox and winter solstice. It’s when we celebrate Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) and All Soul’s Day. I love these celebrations as well! I attended an amazing Pumpkin Festival last October in the Hudson Valley in New York at that time of year. And we have our beautiful Lantern Walk on November 11, which I really love.

Imbolc on February 2, lies halfway between winter solstice and spring equinox. It’s when we celebrate Candlemas and the promise of the return of warmth. Valentines, on February 14, is during this time of year, which I also especially love. 

I wonder what makes these in between festivals so endearing? What does May Day evoke for you? If you take a moment to listen to your quiet longings, what do you feel like doing this time of year? If you knew nothing about traditional festivals, what festival would you create? What food would you eat? What activities would you do? What would be the words to the songs?

About the Author

Kimberley Lewis

Kimberley is a birth-to-three teacher, consultant and writer. She received her master's degree in Waldorf Early Childhood Education from Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. She is a RIE® Associate and avid Pikler student. She has been teaching nursery, preschool, kindergarten and parent-child classes in Waldorf schools since 2007.

Post navigation
Scroll to Top