For example, it was considered good luck to jump over the Beltane bonfire if it was small enough. Or they would build two fires and the daredevils wanting good luck would have to run between them. In other regions, they contented themselves with simply baking a bannock cake over the "lucky" fire and that way, they could consume the good luck. Not all places celebrated the same way.
However, if there is one enduring symbol of May Day, it is the charming sight of people dancing around the May pole. Below you'll find a video from an elementary school in England where the little girls from the school demonstrate dancing around the May pole. The video is a little long but if you scroll ahead you'll enjoy, I think, seeing the parents and the rest of the community join in this merry, ancient tradition. It's really pretty adorable.
Below that, if you're wondering what the boys were doing on May Day while the girls were dancing around the May pole, it's called Morris dancing! (Nowadays, Morris dancing is for both genders, but originally it was a war- or sword-themed dance for men.) I love seeing modern people committed to ancient traditions handed down to them from centuries worth of their ancestors! Happy Beltane ~ and Enjoy! ~ G.
To find out more details about old Beltane practices, check out this link on Bartleby to this excerpt from Sir George Frazer's 1922 book, The Golden Bough, Ch. 62.
And one more video for my romance readers, here's a group of Englishmen singing an old May Day song at a pub in Padstow, Cornwall in exchange for a round on the house. (Not included on the kidlit site because alcohol is shown.) Great voices, and doesn't that look fun! The Padstow May Day celebrations are internationally famous and very old. First written mention dates to 1803, when it would've already been traditional, so known to our Regency-era people.
Occasional musings on books, life, writing, and a general Whazzup! from your 'umble author.