|Beltane, by Brian Fisher, monotype print with 24k gold, 14 x 14 in.|
Today, acknowledging the change of Daylight Savings Time to Standard Time, I thought I’d post work about seasonal change.
My print Beltane, (the return of the sun) was originally created and exhibited at the Tacoma Art Museum in response to artist Doris Lee’s “Maypole" in the TAM print collection. Beltane will again be exhibited for sale during the VIVA Art Studio tour, Dec. 1-2 & 8-9, 10-4 pm at Fisher Studio, stop no. 21, at 23520 147th Ave. SW.
Beltane or May Day celebrates the beginning of summer and is halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. It’s one of four Gaelic seasonal festivals including Lughnasadh (beginning of harvest in early August), Samhain (celebrating the end of harvest and the beginning of winter at the end of October) and Imbolc (meaning in the belly or womb, and the beginning of spring in early February). These seasonal rituals were celebrated and performed to encourage fertility, bounty and protect people, cattle and crops.
Beltane was ritually celebrated in Scotland, Ireland and on the Isle of Man with bonfires where flame and smoke were thought to have protective powers and all household fires were extinguished and relit from the Beltane bonfire.
The celebration of Beltane was already an ancient tradition when Rome conquered Gaul in 58 BC and the custom was assimilated into Rome’s Festival of Flora, a five-day ceremony, in the same season, to honor the Roman goddess of flowers, vegetation, and fertility.
This holiday continues to be one of the most popular customs in Europe and Mayday celebrants hold colorful ribbons and dance around a maypole, changing direction and repeating the step, creating pattern around a pole, symbolizing the lengthening of the days as summer begins.