Oberlin Pagan Group Brings Beltaine to Tappan

May 5, 2007

Author: Timothy Getz

Source: The Oberlin Review


A small but enthusiastic crowd was gathered in Tappan Square with some people decked out in skirts and capes and sporting their finest piercings, while others were dressed in everyday clothing. But everyone was there last Saturday to experience the Beltaine Festival, which Tim Sullivan, an Oberlin resident and part-time student who helped organize the event, called a “Renaissance-esque Fair with a pagan bent.”

The Oberlin Pagan Awareness Network has been planning since September to get the festival — which is its biggest event of the year and the one most open to nonmembers — off the ground. The Beltaine holiday is an Irish tradition related to the May Day festival that celebrates renewal, rebirth and fertility in the moment between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

As it began, the day did not seem like an ideal one for a festival, But as time went on, more and more people arrived. On average, there were between 20 and 30 people wandering around the center of Tappan, mostly Oberlin students but also, surprisingly, several adult community members.

“Beltaine has been around so long that some of the residents in town stop by to say hello,” said Sullivan.