Saturday 5 May 2018

Morning dew

Irish riddle

Q: I wash my face in water that has never rained nor run, and dry it in a towel that was never wove on spun

A: A face washed in May dew and dried in the open air. 

This ritual performed on the May Day (1st of May, Beltane) morning was believed to bring beauty and health.

In Serbia in the past the dew bathing was done on the so called "herb Friday", the last Friday before St George's day. Older women lead younger women and girls out of their villages and towns and into wild, uncultivated meadows and fields, their voices collectively ringing out in song. They went there to wash themselves in morning dew. This they did by literally rolling about in the morning dew, as well as dabbing some dew on their faces. This was considered to be an extremely important magical ritual, one that brought beaty and health. It also helped ensure that women of child-bearing age will conceive without difficulty and have safe, uncomplicated births. 

As I already wrote in my post "Beltany stone circle" there is an indication that originally Beltane was celebrated on the 6th of May, the mid point between the spring equinox and the summer solstice, the true beginning of summer. This is the day when people in Serbia still celebrate St George's day. Many customs and rituals which are in Ireland associated with Beltane, like this one, are in Serbia associated with St George's day. 

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