May 1st is a new quarter day in the Celtic calendar – Beltaine (say BYEL-tin-uh) – a fire festival to celebrate “the force that drives the green fuse through the flower,” to quote Welsh poet Dylan Thomas. It’s a time of brilliance and heat. It was on Betaine that St Patrick lit a fire on the Hill of Slane near Tara in defiance of the High King as a sign of the New Faith succeeding the old religion.
With such a strong history of Catholicism in Ireland, there is a trove of Holy Week traditions. Completing your “spring cleaning” by Good Friday is important preparation for the priest to visit and bless your home on Easter. The old ban on alcohol this day is still in force in some areas. No work with tools is to be done to avoid bloodshed. You should get your hair cut (to avoid headaches) and shop for new Easter clothes.
The White Rabbit in “Alice and Wonderland” is heard to say, “I’m late, I’m late! For a very important date! No time to say ‘hello, goodbye,’ I’m late, I’m late, I’m late!” (Perhaps he’s from Ireland?)
Here is a Welsh expression you can make your own: Cachu hwch, pronounced: Cach-ee hooch (The 'ch' sound is the same as the Scottish loch). It translates as “Pig’s poo” and means “It’s all gone wrong.” I hope you don’t have to use it often.
March 1st is a day to remember Wales and its patron saint. In anticipation of that other Celtic saint venerated in March, it’s easy for David to get lost in the hoopla, but here at the Celtic Ranch – we give every saint his or her due.