According to historians, May has long been a time for celebrations of optimism in Ireland, going all the way back to the time of the ancient Celts. They would hold festivals with music and dancing, and build huge bonfires for purification and renewal. All this was done in praise of the natural world in order to optimistically welcome the planting season, and with it renewed hope for a successful future harvest.
With this in mind I was thinking about what it is that makes me feel optimistic, and which images might express that optimism. On this Lá Bealtaine (Law B-yel-teh-ne), in celebration of optimism, here are a few images which make me feel hopeful.
Shona Lá Bealtaine go léir!
Happy May Day to All!
Observing people together, just having fun and enjoying life, sparks the light of optimism, whether it's family traipsing through St. Stephen's Green on the occasion of a wedding, or buskers on Grafton Street, football fans on the train from Mayo, or enthusiastic polo players in the Phoenix Park. All of these remind me that people are basically good, and want to enjoy life and make each other happy, and that definitely makes me feel optimistic.
Seeing the beauty of stained glass windows makes me feel optimistic. At times it seems as though there are some people who are only capable of wreaking havoc and causing ruination. However, the fact that others chose to skillfully apply their hand to crafting intricate pieces such as these, for the enjoyment of their fellowmen, just has to make you feel hopeful. These windows are from St. Mary's Church in Westport, County Mayo.
What makes you feel optimistic?
Click on images to view larger versions.
To hear pronunciations of Bealtaine visit Forvo.