Beltane

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Beltane marks the New Years day in most modern Alusian calendars and also celebrates the start of Summer.

The night before Beltane all fires are extinguished and in the morning new fires are lit by the oldest methods of rubbing wood together, and from these need fires brands are carried to rekindle domestic hearths.

Fire is very important at Beltane and huge bonfires are built, often lit on hilltops, through which people then jump; else two such fires are lit and people run between them.

It is luckiest if this is repeated three times and many rural folk believe that the highest jumps will determine how high the crops will grow.

The name of the festival is believed by some philosophers to derive from that of Baal, the name of the first Demon, and that the festival's name is a corruption of the term Baal-bane, the ancient name of the fires.

Beltane cakes are eaten, one portion of which -- often marked by a red bean -- dooms its finder to be a scapegoat. This person is spoken of as dead and in some backwards areas may be subject to various rituals that are certainly the relics of earlier sacrifices.

Beltane falls on a Full Moon