Feast of Beltane Long ago, Celts celebrated Beltane, which was a calendar feast that welcomed summer. Bonfires figured largely into this celebration, and some activities included dancing around the fire, burning effigies of witches, and hearding cattle in between bonfires. Fire was seen as a purifying source. In recent years, neopagans have begun to celebrate Beltane once more.
Red Lion Street area, Kirk's Yard, Nottingham, 1919. All demolished in the late 1920's-early 30's and replaced by some of the first purpose built council houses. Narrow Marsh lay beneath the cliff of the Lace Market, seen here in the background. The area was notorious for slum dwellings and outbreaks of cholera and other diseases. The houses on the left show frame-knitters windows. The timber-frame house, 'Marsh Farm' may be Tudor, with a marvellous display of repairs and patching.
May Day is related to the Celtic festival of Beltane and the Germanic festival of Walpurgis Night. – it has traditionally been an occasion for celebration. As Europe became Christianized, the pagan holidays lost their religious character and either changed into popular secular celebrations, as with May Day, or were merged with or replaced by new Christian holidays. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day