Beltane, or Celtic Mayday, marks the beginning of summer. It is a fertility ritual that was performed by pre-Christian Britons while accompanying the herds into the open fields for the first time in the year. It is still celebrated in some parts of the UK, like in this increasingly popular event in Hampshire, England, photographed by Phil Clarke-Hill.

Traditional dancing at Beltane celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England (Phil Clarke-Hill/Robert Harding)

Beltane Wickerman celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

A giant wicker man – in which people insert paper on which they have written their hopes for the coming year – will be burnt at Beltane celebrations, Hampshire, England (Phil Clarke-Hill/Robert Harding)

Wickerman, Beltane celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Morris dancers, Beltane celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire (Phil Clarke-Hill/Robert Harding)

Morris dancers, Beltane Wickerman celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

A man dressed as a soldier during Beltane celebrations, Hampshire (Phil Clarke-Hill/Robert Harding)

Beltane Wickerman celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Women do a fertility dance at Beltane celebrations in Hampshire, England (Phil Clarke-Hill/Robert Harding)

Beltane Wickerman celebrations at Butser Ancient Farm, Hampshire, England, United Kingdom, Europe

See more photos of Beltane here

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