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A May Garland is a concert in celebration of the Celtic holiday of Beltane, also known as May Day. In olden times a "garland" was not only a woven chain of flowers, but also a collection of songs and music. In this May Garland, traditional musicians Julia Lane and Fred Gosbee of Round Pond (known as Castlebay) will join voices and instruments to weave together songs and tunes, poetry and lore all celebrating the coming of Spring. These fine singers support their vocals with a variety of instruments including Celtic harps 12 string guitar, fiddle, and woodwinds.
The evidence left us by the early inhabitants of the British Isles indicates that they viewed the calendar year as a circle or wheel with fixed points determined by solar and lunar activity. In addition to the well-known solstices and equinoxes, the ancients marked the cross quarter days or halfway points between with appropriate celebration. Beltane, also called May Day, is one of these "cross-quarter" days and is celebrated on May 1st, the midpoint between the vernal equinox and the summer solstice. In Northern Europe, the first of May has been, since ancient times, a time for revelry and celebration. The world is finally released from Winter’s grasp and Spring rejuvenates every living thing.
The music and lore of the Celtic lands is alive with imagery associated with the turning points of the year and our relationship to the natural world. New life in all it's forms is celebrated as are symbols assuring the fertility of animals and crops for the rest of the year. The great fruitfulness of the earth and the exuberance of Spring, the "Queen of May" and her consort, the Green Man, are honored, beginning the night before, with a carefree sense of playful abandon. In many areas, these traditions are still carried on as, rising to greet the dawn, celebrants sing, gather flowers, dance around the May Pole and parade through the streets.