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Lá Bealtaine Festival Weekend at the UICC – April 28–April 30, 2023

April 28, 2023 - April 30, 2023

UICC presents Lá Bealtaine Festival Weekend with four fantastic ways to honor long-held Irish rituals and traditions.

Commonly observed on the first of May, Lá Bealtaine falls midway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. The festival name is synonymous with the month marking the start of summer in Ireland, May being Mí na Bealtaine (the month of Bealtaine/Beltane). Bealtaine means ‘bright fire’, and this festival is often commemorated with bonfires, maypoles, and dancing. Bealtaine is a Celtic word, meaning “the fires of Bel.” Bel, likely referred to the Celtic sun god, Belenus.

Like any good Irish observance, rituals and traditions are numerous! One tradition involved herding cows through two big bonfires, to cleanse the herd and bring good luck. Bonfires continue to be a key part of the festival even in modern times and is seen as a way to harnessing the power of the sun. Doors, windows, byres and livestock would be decorated with yellow May flowers, perhaps because they evoked fire. In parts of Ireland, people would make a May Bush: typically, a thorn bush or branch decorated with flowers, ribbons, bright shells and rushlights. Holy wells were also visited, while Bealtaine dew was thought to bring beauty and maintain youthfulness.

Event collection on Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/cc/la-bealtaine-festival-2002729


April 28, 2023
April 30, 2023
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United Irish Cultural Center
2700 45th Avenue
SAN FRANCISCO, CA 94116 United States
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(415) 661-2700
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