What the hell is Beltane Fire Festival? And why you should be going!

It’s a fire festival… who wouldn't want to attend that? Just the name of it makes us giddy with excitement. Other than the obvious reason of FIRE, the history of the event grabs your imagination and pulls you into its ancient world. 

  Bonfire at the 2012 Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival (Photo from  commons.wikimedia.org )

Bonfire at the 2012 Edinburgh Beltane Fire Festival (Photo from commons.wikimedia.org)

So let’s start with what the festival actually is. 
It’s a living and dynamic celebration of the death of winter and the birth of summer in which the performers and audience embark on a procession from the National Monument to Calton Hill in Edinburgh. This is followed by a dramatic stage performance and then the grand finale!  A huge bonfire being lit to the sound of drums beating (a drum roll, if you will) in the night to represent the casting off of the darkness and celebrating the light.

Sounds epic right?

The history behind the festival is just as epic. 
The festival is a reinterpretation and modernisation of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual in which  the May Queen and the Green Man were the focal point of celebrations welcoming the summer period. The festival of Beltane (which translates to ‘bright fire’), one of the most important rituals of the year, concerns the lighting of the Beltane bonfire. Fire was seen as a purifier and healer. Farmers would have driven their cattle between bonfires to cleanse and protect them before being put out into the fields. The festival would also have been a time of courtship rituals and a celebration of human fertility. (Insert fire and burning loins related joke here)...

After hearing that, do we still need to convince you to go?
If we do, just take a look at these guys… sold yet?

  The Green Man and the May Queen. (Photo by Ryan Gibson via bbc.co.uk) 

The Green Man and the May Queen. (Photo by Ryan Gibson via bbc.co.uk) 

Did we mention there will be tons of fire? From fire dancers, burning torches to the epicly amazing bonfire on the hill.
Just don't wear anything flammable…

To book tickets to this mesmerizing event go to the Tickets Scotland Edinburgh website

If you are interested in learning more about the event and it’s history, check out the Beltane Fire Society’s website

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