On May Eve May birching or boughing, is when young men would attach garlands on the windows and door of someone that they are attracted to. Mountain Ash and Hawthorn meant love, but you could also show that you were not attracted to someone by using Thorn. Young men and women at daybreak on Beltane would go into the woods to collect flowers for garlands. They would be some suggestion that the young men and women would be up to more than collecting flowers in the woods 😉 There would make their way to the centre of the community where a May pole would have been erected. In Ancient Ireland there would have a sacred tree called Bile which was the centre of the Clan. This tree would be the link between the three worlds, the Skyworld (heavens), the Middleworld (our world) and the Otherworld. Some argue that the Bile tree has survived in the form of the May pole. The May pole is an important part of Beltane. It is a tall pole that is decorated with ribbons, flowers and wreaths. Young men and women will hold the end of the ribbons and dance around the pole interweaving so the ribbons would plait together. Ideally it should be done with an equal number of boys and girls. The boys would be facing clockwise and the girls counter-clockwise and they will dance the way that they are facing. Those passing on the inside will have to duck, those passing on the outside raise their ribbons to slide over.
April 24, 2013