Friday, 2 May 2008
The start of May marks the Celtic festival of Beltane - the festival of bright or sacred fire, known as Walpurgisnacht in Germany. It was the beginning of summer in the old religion; people would burn their winter bedding (so much easier than laundering it) lead the animals to the summer pastures, and make sacrifices for a good harvest.
Every five years the Highland Celts would sacrifice humans, usually convicts and prisoners of war. They were either shot with arrows, or burnt alive in huge wicker men.