Meitheal Celebration at the Cottage
200 New Boston Drive
Canton , MA 02021
Come join us as we prepare the cottage for the season of
Symbolic whitewashing, Thatching Preparation/demonstration
Decoration of May Bush
Seisiún in the cottage with Music Song and Dance
Tea & Irish Bread Served
Meitheal: is the Irish name for a work party and conveys the idea of connection with neighbor in the spirit of community. In rural Ireland a group of neighbors would come together to cut the turf, save the hay and gather the harvest. They also helped each other to thatch and repair their cottages. In return food would be prepared and served followed by music, song and dancing in the kitchen.
The sense of community spirit of the Meitheal continues in modern Ireland today with groups such as “Meitheal Mara” a group that work together to build Irish Currach’s “Meitheal Na Gaoithe” a group of people committed to the creation of renewable energy projects in Ireland, Meitheal Mhaigh Eo (Mayo) Rural Regeneration Programme that seeks to address the problems associated with rural depopulation experienced by many communities throughout the county, by encouraging and assisting new families to relocate to Co Mayo.
Bealtaine: is the 3rd quarter of the old Celtic calendar.
It is also known as Mì na Bealtaine (Irish name for the month of May) For the Celts, Beltane marked the beginning of the pastoral summer season when the herds of livestock were driven out to the summer pastures and mountain grazing lands. The lighting of bonfires on Oidhche Bhealtaine ('the eve of Bealtaine') on mountains and hills of ritual and political significance such as the Hill of Tara was one of the main activities of the festival. Another common aspect of the festival which survived up until the early 20th century in Ireland was the hanging of May Boughs on the doors and windows of houses and the erection of May Bushes in farmyards, which usually consisted either of a branch of rowan caorthann (mountain ash) or more commonly whitethorn /sceach geal (hawthorn) which is in bloom at the time and is commonly called the 'May Bush' The practice of decorating the May Bush or Dos Bhealtaine with flowers, ribbons, garlands and colored egg shells has survived to some extent among the diaspora as well, most notably in Newfoundland.
In Modern Ireland the tradition of celebrating Beltaine continues. The Irish National Arts festival takes place each May in villages and towns all over Ireland and celebrates creativity of the older adult. See Age and Opportunity Bealtaine Festival 2010 and Féile na Bealtaine 2010 Dingle County Kerry
Full details of the above festivals are posted on the internet.