lusan buidhe Bealltainn, marsh-marigolds

‘S e Là Buidhe Bealltainn a tha air a’ chiad latha den Chèitean. ‘S e seann fhèill Cheilteach a tha anns a’ Bhealltainn agus i a’ comharrachadh toiseach an t-samhraidh, no toiseach na leth-bhliadhna blàithe soilleir, le teintean agus dìtheannan. Aig ceann eile na bliadhna bha Samhain ann, a’ comharrachadh toiseach nam mìosan fuar dorcha. Tha sin againn fhathast mar Oidhche Shamhna – Halloween.

bealaidh, broom

Tha mòran lusan buidhe ann aig an àm seo.  Tha an conasg ann fhathast, agus am bealaidh a’ nochdadh ri a thaobh, buidheagan an t-samhraidh, sòbhraichean, beàrnanan-brìde, searragaich, seileastairean, fiù ‘s lusan a’ chrom-chinn air fhagail. Agus tha aon lus àlainn eile a’ nochdadh an-dràsda a tha sònraichte – “lus buidhe Bealltainn” fhèin. Am bliadhna chunnaic mi fhìn mar a bha linne gu tur reòite sa Mhairt ach anns a‘ Ghiblean bha na dìtheanan deàrrsach seo ri fhaicinn anns an uisge agus air fad na bhruaich. Abair comharra dòchasach an t-samhraidh! Sa Bheurla bha “mayflower” aige roimhe. Is beag an t-iongnadh gur e The Mayflower a bha air long nam Pilgrim Fathers.

‘S e dath ceangailte ri soirbheachadh, ri beannachdan a bha ann am ‘buidhe’ dha na Gàidheil. Bidh sinn ag ràdh ‘Nach buidhe dhut!’ latha an-diùgh fhathast – coltach ri ‘Aren’t you lucky!’

A dh’aindeoin sin uile, ‘s e an t-Iuchair air a bheil “mìos buidhe” sa Ghàidhlig – ach chan eil mise a’ creidsinn gun gabh an t-Iuchair a bhith nas buidhe na an Cèitean.  Chì sinn!

 

Seo bhideo beag à Èirinn mu lus buidhe bealltainn agus seann chleachd ann an Castlebar: https://vimeo.com/107658790

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sòbhraichean, primroses

The first of May is called Yellow Day of Beltane in Gaelic. Beltane was an old Celtic festival, celebrating the beginning of summer, or of the warm, bright half-year, with fires and flowers. At the other end of the year it was Samhain, marking the start of the cold, dark months. We still have that today in the form of Halloween.

There are many yellow flowers out at this time of year. The whins are still on the go, with the broom appearing beside them, buttercups, primroses, dandelions, lesser celandine, irises, even left-over daffodils.

lusan buidhe Bealltainn, marsh-marigolds

And there is one lovely plant also appearing about now which is special – the “yellow flower of Beltane” itself – the marsh-marigold. This year I was able to see for myself how a pond was completely frozen in March yet in April these shining flowers could be seen in the water and all along the bank. What a hopeful sign of summer! In English “mayflower” was another name for it. No wonder the Pilgrim Fathers named their ship The Mayflower.

Yellow was a colour traditionally connected by the Gaels to prosperity and blessings. Even today we say ‘Nach buidhe dhut!’ in Gaelic – something like ‘Hasn’t a lot of yellow come your way!’ to convey the English expression ‘Aren’t you lucky!’.

Despite all that, the ‘yellow month’ in Gaelic is actually July, but I can’t imagine that July could be any yellower than May.  We shall see!

 

Here’s a nice a wee video from Ireland about the mayflower and a tradition in Castlebar: https://vimeo.com/107658790