Beltane or May Cup

As with our New Year celebrations the Saxons began their May Day celebrations on April 30th with an evening of games and feasting, all marking the end of winter and the start of Spring. The Celts continued the tradition throughout the middle ages especially in rural areas. Homes and barns were decorated with budding branches. Hawthorn was popular for this but considered unlucky if it were brought into a house before May Day itself. May Cup was made and offered to all visitors on May Day. Something for you to try with last year’s recipe for Maids of Honour.


4 glasses of white wine 1 glass of brandy
8 glasses of dry cider A few slices of orange
A handful of sweet woodruff (cultivated woodruff plants can be purchased so please don't pick it from the wild)


  1. Mix all the ingredients together and leave for about 2 hours in a cool place.
  2. Filter into a jug and serve to your May Day guests.

Of course this would be a very welcome apéritif to May Pole dancing.


Beltane - Sweet Woodruff May Cup

SWEET WOODRUFF (Galium odoratum)

This is a herb that can be planted or bought in a pot.