Beltane or Beltaine ( /ˈbɛlteɪn/) is the anglicised spelling of the Goidelic name for either the month of May or the festival held on the first day of May. In Irish it is Bealtaine, in Scottish Gaelic Bealltainn and in Manx Gaelic Boaltinn or Boaldyn.
Beltane was an ancient Gaelic festival celebrated in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. It marked the beginning of summer and was linked to similar festivals held elsewhere in Europe, such as the Welsh Calan Mai and the Germanic Walpurgis Night. Beltane and Samhain were the leading terminal dates of the civil year in medieval Ireland, though the latter festival was the more important. It is a cross-quarter day, marking the midpoint in the Sun's progress between the spring equinox and summer solstice. The astronomical date for this midpoint is nearer to 5 May or 7 May, but this can vary from year to year.
Beltane regained popularity during the Celtic Revival and is still observed as a cultural festival by some in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and among their diasporas. Today, Beltane is also observed as a religious festival by Celtic neopagans. Wiccans adopted the name Beltane for their May festival.
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