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Calan Mai

Get ready to welcome the arrival of summer with traditional Welsh celebrations on Calan Mai - dancing, singing, and bonfires await!
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When it is?
May 1
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United Kingdom

Get ready to welcome the arrival of summer on May 1 with the ancient Celtic celebration of Calan Mai! This traditional holiday, also known as Beltane, has been celebrated for centuries as a way to honor the changing of seasons and the fertility of the land. It's a time for feasting, dancing around maypoles, and lighting bonfires to symbolize new beginnings. Today, this vibrant holiday is still celebrated in many parts of Europe with music, food, and colorful decorations. So get your flower crowns and dance shoes ready – it's time to embrace the spirit of Calan Mai!

History of Calan Mai

Calan Mai Dates

Calan Mai Timeline

<div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>Pre-10th Century</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Origins of Beltane</div><div class='timeline-text'>The roots of Calan Mai lie in the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane, marking the beginning of summer and fertility of the season.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1583</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>First Written Mention</div><div class='timeline-text'>Welsh poet Gruffydd Robert composes a poem that gives a detailed description of Calan Mai customs, marking the first written mention of the holiday.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1700s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Traditions Evolve</div><div class='timeline-text'>Practices like fetching of the Lady well’s water, singing traditional songs, and feasting became popularized during this period.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1800s</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Rise of the Eisteddfod</div><div class='timeline-text'>The Eisteddfod, a Welsh festival of literature, music and performance, began highlighting Calan Mai traditions during annual gatherings.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>1981</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Restoration of Practices</div><div class='timeline-text'>Efforts by cultural organizations restored many old traditions like the Maypole dance and Beltane bonfires that had faded over time.</div></div></div><div class='timeline-item'><div class='timeline-left'><div class='timeline-date-text'>2021</div></div><div class='timeline-center'></div><div class='timeline-right'><div class='timeline-text timeline-text-title'>Modern Day Celebrations</div><div class='timeline-text'>Today, Calan Mai is celebrated with local festivals, music, parades, and virtual events due to the global pandemic, keeping the ancient tradition alive and vibrant.</div></div></div>

How to Celebrate Calan Mai

<div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>1</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Attend a traditional Calan Mai celebration</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Find a local event or festival that celebrates Calan Mai and experience the traditional customs and rituals associated with this holiday.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>2</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Decorate your home with flowers and greenery</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>In Welsh tradition, it is customary to decorate your home with flowers and greenery on Calan Mai. Get creative and make your own floral arrangements to bring some festive spirit into your home.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>3</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Have a bonfire or light candles</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Lighting fires and candles is a common tradition on Calan Mai, symbolizing the coming of summer. Gather some friends and family and have a bonfire or light candles to mark the occasion.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>4</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Learn about Welsh mythology and folklore</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Calan Mai is rooted in Welsh mythology and folklore. Take some time to learn about the stories and legends associated with this holiday and share them with others.</p></div></div><div id='' class='facts-item'><div id='' class='facts-header'><h3 id='' class='facts-number'>5</h3></div><div id='' class='facts-text-wrapper'><h3 id='' class='facts-title'>Prepare a traditional Calan Mai meal</h3><p id='' class='facts-text'>Food is an important part of any celebration, and Calan Mai is no exception. Look up some traditional Welsh dishes and prepare a feast to enjoy with friends and family.</p></div></div>

Why Calan Mai is Important

<div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>A</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It has ancient roots.</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Calan Mai, also known as Beltane or May Day, is a holiday with deep roots in ancient Celtic traditions. It was believed to mark the beginning of summer and was celebrated with bonfires, dancing, and fertility rituals.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>B</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It celebrates nature and rebirth</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Calan Mai falls at a time when nature is bursting with new life - flowers blooming, birds singing, and warmer weather. It's a perfect opportunity to connect with the earth and celebrate the renewal and growth of the natural world.</p></div></div><div id='' class='whywelove-item'><div id='' class='whywelove-letter-cont'><div class='whywelove-letter'>C</div></div><div id='why-we-love-main-cont'><h3 id='' class='whywelove-title'>It brings communities together</h3><p id='' class='whywelove-text'>Calan Mai is traditionally a time for people to come together and celebrate in their communities. From parades and festivals to Maypole dances and feasts, it's a wonderful opportunity for friends and neighbors to bond and have fun together.</p></div></div>

5 Unveiled Facts about Calan Mai Celebration

<div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>1</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Lady's Well Has a Central Role in Calan Mai Celebrations</h3><p class='facts-content'>During Calan Mai, it is traditional to visit Brideswell, also known as Lady's Well, to wash in the 'dew' from the well, which is believed to bring beauty and maintain youth.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>2</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Calan Mai has Literary Associations</h3><p class='facts-content'>The holiday is referenced in William Shakespeare's play "A Midsummer Night's Dream" which is replete with Celtic folklore and traditions.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>3</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Bonfires are Symbolic in Calan Mai Celebrations</h3><p class='facts-content'>The bonfires lit during Calan Mai symbolize the power of the sun and are meant to encourage growth and fertility, while also driving away bad spirits.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>4</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Cynnig Tân: Asking Permission From the Spirits</h3><p class='facts-content'>Before wood was collected for the bonfire, a practice called 'Cynnig Tân' or 'offerings to fire', was observed where permission was asked from the spirits of the grove.</p></div></div><div class='facts-item'><div class='facts-number-wrapper'><p class='facts-number'>5</p></div><div class='facts-core-content'><h3 class='facts-title'>Maypoles are a Key Symbol of Calan Mai</h3><p class='facts-content'>Maypoles, decorated with flowers and ribbons, signify the unity between sky-and-earth. People dance around the maypole in celebration of the fertility of the land.</p></div></div>

Calan Mai FAQs

When is Calan Mai?

Calan Mai is celebrated on May 1 every year. In 2024 Calan Mai will occur on a Wednesday.

Calan Mai Dates



May 1



May 1



May 1



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May 1


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