Celebrated on the night of May 1, the Beltane or Beltaine festival was one of the two most important holidays of the Celtic calendar year, which was divided into two equal periods, opened by large holidays - Samhain (Samhain) on November 1 and Beltane (Beltane) - May 1. These dates were associated with the most important milestones of the cattle-breeding calendar - cattle pastures on summer pastures in the first days of May and their return to the stalls for the winter period - by November 1.
Since ancient times, the rituals dedicated to these two holidays had a great similarity with each other, since in essence their semantic meaning coincided: through ritual actions, people sought to ensure the well-being of their family, the entire community, to preserve the basis of their well-being - livestock and crops. Like Samhain, the central ritual of the Beltane festival was the kindling of large fires on the tops of mountains or high hills located near the village.
According to its origin, this rite, judging by the individual surviving fragments and its description in historical sources, is associated with the cult of the sun, which was an important part of the pagan beliefs of the ancient Celts. This is how this ritual was described in medieval sources: for several days before May 1, the inhabitants of the community collected fuel for the fires of Beltane. Only certain types of trees could be placed in such a fire, which was considered sacred. On the top of the mountain, a place and fuel were prepared for two fires, and around both fires a round ditch was dug, large enough to accommodate all those assembled.