Celebrating Beltane With Kids

Kids Around the Maypole
Want to celebrate Beltane with kids? You can!. Cecelia Cartner / Cultura / Getty Images

 

Every year, when Beltane rolls around, parents start discussing whether they are comfortable with the sexual fertility aspect of the season for adults, and whether they can reign things in just a little when it comes to practicing with their young children. After all, you may just not be prepared to explain things like the erect phallus of the god to your pre-schooler, and that’s totally fine, because everyone parents at their own pace. So, what’s a Pagan parent to do, if they’d like to keep their littles involved with ritual practice, but uncomfortable focusing on the AW YEAH SEXYTIMES part of Beltane?

The first rule is: Don’t Panic.

No kidding–you can absolutely celebrate fertility at Beltane with young kids. The trick is to remember that fertility doesn’t just apply to people, but also to the earth and the soil and nature all around us. That means things like flowers, baby animals, plants, seedlings, and all kinds of other things that you probably haven’t even though of in the context of fertility.

Beltane is a time for great celebration, so there’s no need to exclude your kiddos. You simply have to find the context that works best for your family, and what you judge to be your child’s maturity level.

Do keep in mind that everyone parents at their own pace. It’s not up to any of us to tell you you’re Not Paganing Right just because you’re not ready to explain human sexuality and fertility to your kids. You know your own kids better than anyone else does, and you’ll explain it when you–and they–are ready to have that conversation.

So, moving on. Here are five fun ways you can celebrate Beltane with your young children, and let them participate in family rituals, without having to discuss certain aspects of the season that you’re just not ready to explain yet.

01
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Family Abundance Ritual

Gardening with Dad
A simple planting ceremony is an alternative to traditional Beltane rituals. Ariel Skelley / Brand X / Getty Images

Beltane is a celebration of fertility, and despite that it's a perfectly natural aspect of the human existence, let's face it: some parents may not always be comfortable discussing the erect phallus of the god or the open womb of the goddess with their young children. However, in addition to sexual fertility, the Beltane sabbat is also about abundance, in many forms. Don't just focus on material gains–it's about the growth of the earth and its bounty, and it's about increasing your own spiritual and emotional wealth. This family ritual is one that you can easily include children in. 

Hold it at night, if possible. Before beginning, prepare your family's evening meal. Include spring foods, such as a light salad, fresh fruit, or breads. Set the table as you normally would, and go outside. For this ritual, you'll need the following:

  • A small flower pot for each person in the family
  • A bowl of dirt or potting soil
  • Seeds for your favorite herbs or flowers
  • A cup of water
  • A small fire
  • A piece of paper for each person in the family

Go out in your yard with the entire family–be sure you have a small table or other flat surface you can use as an altar. The oldest person in the family should lead the ritual. Begin by saying:

Welcome, spring!
The light has returned, and life has come back to the earth.

The soil is dark and full of energy,
so this evening we plant our seeds.
They will lie in the soil, taking root and growing,
until the time has come for them to meet the sun.
As we plant these seeds, we give thanks to the earth
for its strength and life-bringing gifts.

Each person fills their pot with soil. You can either pass the bowl of dirt around, or if you have small children, just let each approach the altar or table. Once everyone has filled their pot with soil, pass out the seeds. Say:

Tiny seeds, containing life!
They travel upon the wind and bring to us abundance.
Flowers, herbs, vegetables, fruit…
all the bounty of the earth.
We give thanks to the seeds,
for the gifts that are to come in the harvest season.

Each person should push their seeds down into the soil. Older participants can help smaller children with this. Finally, pass around the cup of water. Say:

Water, cool and life-giving!
Bringing power to these seeds,
and moistening this fertile soil.
We give thanks to the water,
for allowing life to bloom once more.

When each person has finished potting their seeds, set the flower pots on the altar or table. Give each participant a small piece of paper and something to write with. Say:

Tonight we plant seeds in the earth,
but Beltane is a time in which many things can grow.
Tonight we plant seeds in our hearts and souls,
for other things we wish to see blossom.
We plant the seeds of love, of wisdom, of happiness.
We dig deep, and begin a crop of harmony, balance, and joy.
We add water to bring life and abundance of all kinds into our homes.
We offer our wishes into the fire, to carry them out to the Universe.

Each person should write on their paper something they wish to see blooming in their own life–harmony, happiness, financial security, strong relationships, healing, etc. For small children, it may be something very simple–even if your first-grader writes down that he wants a pony, don't discourage anyone's wishes. After each person has written their wish down, they approach the fire one at a time and cast the paper into the flames (help little ones with this part, just in the interest of safety).

When everyone has placed their wishes into the fire, take a few moments and think about the meaning of Beltane. Think about the things you want to see bloom and grow in your own life, in both the material and the non-physical realm. When everyone is ready, end the ritual. You may wish to follow the ceremony with another Beltane festivity, such as a Maypole Dance, or the traditional cakes and ale.

Making Daisy Chains
Make daisy chains, floral crowns, and other craft projects with your kids at Beltane. Frank Van Delft / Cultura / Getty Images

For many of us, spring is a time when our creativity blooms as well. Invite your little ones to make May Day Cone Baskets to hang around the house, Floral Crowns to wear, string together some daisy chains, braid some ribbons together to hang in a tree, build a Faerie Chair for garden guests, or even try making masks representing the Green Man. More »

03
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Get Moving

Maypole Kids
Get your little ones moving with a miniature Maypole dance. Cecelia Cartner / Cultura / Getty Images

Little kids are squirmy and full of energy. Put up a small Maypole in your yard, add some ribbons, put on a little bouncy music and get them dancing around it. Don’t worry if they get tangled up, it’s probably going to happen no matter what you do to prevent it. Host a children’s drum circle to raise energy. If you’re feeling really ambitious, let them build hobby horses out of wrapping paper tubes and tissue boxes, and hold a hobby horse race. It’s hilarious and fun.

Kids Around Bonfire
With supervision, kids can enjoy the warmth of a Beltane bonfire. Moretti-Viant / Caiaimage / Getty Images

For many cultures, the Bale Fire was an important part of the Beltane celebration. If your kids are old enough to understand that they shouldn’t jump into the bonfire, get a roaring blaze going in the backyard, tell classic stories around the fire, and sing some songs. More »

05
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Get Outdoors

Mother walking with son in forest
Elizabethsalleebauer / Getty Images

Kids love to be outside, so why not go on a nature hike to see what new things are growing in your local park or woods? Offer each child a small bag to bring home treasures they might find–interesting leaves, cool rocks and sticks, or other goodies. Take advantage of this to talk about the way the seasons change, and point out sights that show how life is returning to the earth once more.

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Wigington, Patti. "Celebrating Beltane With Kids." ThoughtCo, Feb. 20, 2018, thoughtco.com/celebrating-beltane-with-kids-2561677. Wigington, Patti. (2018, February 20). Celebrating Beltane With Kids. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-beltane-with-kids-2561677 Wigington, Patti. "Celebrating Beltane With Kids." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/celebrating-beltane-with-kids-2561677 (accessed February 22, 2018).