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Calan Mai Ushers in the First Day of Summer, but is 1 May Lucky in Wales?

Owing to our Celtic heritage, Welsh tradition and folklore has plenty of ties to lucky days, numbers, and occurrences. While not to the same extent – or at least, not as well-known as – in Ireland, superstitions are rife across Wales, with many being tied to the Celt ways of old. Of course, there are also many that are simply derived from the number symbolism that is found across the history and around the world.

While not scientifically the first day of the summer, each year, many across Wales and the rest of the UK celebrate Calan Mai or a local equivalent. May Day on 1 May also comes after one of the three Ysbryd Nos, which is when the divide between the physical and the spiritual world is at its thinnest. So, is Calan Mai a lucky day and are there any ways to bring luck on 1 May?

Traditions of 1 May

Calan Mai, what used to be known as Calan Hâf, has long celebrated the first day of summer. It’s very much the Welsh version of Beltane, which is specifically the Gaelic celebration of the first day of the season that also lands on 1 May. As we know today, of course, the first day of summer changes with each year, and we now identify four seasons as opposed to just summer and winter.

When celebrated traditionally, Calan Mai will feature deckings of green, mock fights between performers dressed as summer and winter, as well as maypole dancing. According to some, Calan Mai isn’t even the most important day of this time of year. It may usher in summer, but Nos Galan (30 April) is the first day of the year when the spirit world and this world are at their least divided.

Much of Calan Mai is about the celebration of the warmer months and the crops that it brings. As such, there aren’t traditionally too many superstitions or good luck charms infused into 1 May specifically. That said, bonfires are a part of the mirrored Beltane celebrations. During these, people used to leap over the embers of the bonfires to gain protection and good luck.

Welsh lucky numbers that aren’t seasonal

The coming of the summer on 1 May would itself be lucky at a time, and while we’ll recognise the season’s arrival on 20 June in 2024, lucky numbers remain exceedingly prominent in the culture. Studies have revealed that over four in ten people in Wales would buy a house based on its number aligning with their lucky number, with nearly one in three saying that lucky numbers are related to a significant memory. Overall, seven was the top pick.

To the Celtic mythology, though, seven isn’t a lucky number. Five, 13, 17, three, and the multiples of three are the lucky numbers. Perhaps not so coincidentally, six is a common pick as a lucky number. As a multiple of three and a single-digit number, six is often picked as lucky. Seeing how common this is, there’s even now a Lucky 6 live roulette game.

Offering multiples on random numbers in the live table game, the studio has picked a lucky number that ties to Celtic myths as well as the principles of Feng shui, as six represents happiness and blessings in the practice. It also leans into positive personality traits and characteristics in numberology, having ties to the planet Venus. Basically, there’s a lot that points to the number six being a universally lucky number throughout the year.

Once again, 1 May welcomed the summer months after the veil to the spirit world became its thinnest, but the number one isn’t necessarily a lucky one. Rather, more people in Wales will be relying on the number six this year – especially when Friday 13 September rolls around!