Beltane Celebrations – Dancing the Summer in
The first Saturday afternoon in May and people gather to greet Jack in the Green on Horfield Comon. Jack arrives to welcome the Summer in and every year there are many more people waiting for him than before. The first hint that Jack is on his way is the distant sounds of music. Then he is here, approaching the Common, our first sight of Jack and his dancing band of followers.
Jack heads towards his spot, all nine feet of him, a towering mass of greenery and flowers. The crowd gathers round him in a circle and Jack’s green clad followers begin to dance and sing.
All too soon comes the point when Jack has to die so that the Spirit of Summer can be set free. He is toppled and the gathered crowd swarm over him to grab some greenery to take with them.
Beltane is an ancient pagan celebration. It marks the coming of summer and the fertility of the land. Hawthorn generally blossoms around Beltane and is closely associated with it.