01 May 2007
May Pole Diary
Build your own Maypole. Why not? What ancient memories might be elicited upon viewing? And how would a May Pole in the flag waving western United States survive? First attempt, left above, at flying a neutral (non patriotic) tricolor - magenta, cyan, yellow - pole about 300 ft above the village ended in less than 24 hours with a group of 6 men (now known) dissembling the fabrics but politely laying the pole on top of the rock outcrop. Next attempt was to time the next pole construction with a more public local Irish festival (second above), then remove the Irish tricolor to the mountain; its deconstruction occurred about one month later by unknown ax wielding person(s) who removed the fabrics completely and placed the pole nearby on the ground. Pole was "re-clothed" with autumnal hops blossoms and re-erected (fourth, fifth above). De-construction of this version occurred about six weeks later after first snows and a six foot section (2M) was removed from the middle of the pole by a saw wielding (they are learning!) yet unknown person(s). The pole remains were removed for the winter into the village and then redressed in "legal" Christmas wreaths and re-positioned for Mayday / Beltain in photos below - after its first week, it remains, but a pre-emptive immolation is scheduled for proper Beltain fire on the evening of May fifth (Cinco de Mayo) - (Update: before weather permitted its immolation, person(s) unknown removed this fourth iteration on evening of May 20th) - photo of installation next.
From Wikipedia - Beltane
Beltane has a complex etymology and a resultant variety of different spellings.
The word Beltane derives directly from the Old Irish Beltain, which later evolved into the Modern Irish Bealtaine. In Scottish Gaelic it is spelled Bealltainn. Both are from Old Irish Beltene ('bright fire') from belo-te(p)niâ. Beltane was formerly spelled 'Bealtuinn' in Scottish Gaelic; in Manx it is spelt 'Boaltinn' or 'Boaldyn'.
In Modern Irish, Oíche Bealtaine is May Eve, and Lá Bealtaine is May Day. Mí na Bealtaine, or simply Bealtaine is the name of the month of May.
In the word belo-te(p)niâ) the element belo- is cognate with the English word bale (as in 'bale-fire'), the Anglo-Saxon bael, and also the Lithuanian baltas, meaning 'white' or 'shining' and from which the Baltic Sea takes its name.
In Gaelic the terminal vowel -o (from Belo) was dropped, as shown by numerous other transformations from early or Proto-Celtic to Early Irish, thus the Gaulish deity names Belenos ('bright one') and Belisama.
From the same Proto-Celtic roots we get a wide range of other words: the verb beothaich, from Early Celtic belo-thaich ('to kindle, light, revive, or re-animate'); baos, from baelos ('shining'); beòlach ('ashes with hot embers') from beò/belo + luathach, ('shiny-ashes' or 'live-ashes'). Similarly boil/boile ('fiery madness'), through Irish buile and Early Irish baile/boillsg ('gleam'), and bolg-s-cio-, related to Latin fulgeo ('shine'), and English 'effulgent'.
All photos can be enlarged by a click. Note older posts' link - as each newer post builds on these before it, take a look from the beginning. Thank you and please comment.