The archaic spirit of the Beltane Fire festival, Edinburgh


The archaic spirit of the Beltane Fire festival, Edinburgh


Edinburgh is a city full of great surprises.

The Beltane Fire Festival is one of these.

Just try to picture a bunch of artists and performers who entertain a huge crowd of people, with fire shows, tribal dances and the music of the drums. They would normally wear circus clothes and costumes, but some of them were pretty much half naked. Their  faces and bodies are painted in bright and vivid colors.

Suddenly these people  have turned into spirits of the forest, animals, demons, strange creatures.  Everything happens from the  sunset until late at night, on the top of one of the seven hills of Edinburgh, called Caton hill. The result of this crazy mix of elements is just unbelievable.

The festival takes place every 30th of April. It’s the modern reenactment of the ancient gaelic ritual dedicated to Beltane (which in Irish means May), which marked the beginning of the summer. This pagan festival used to celebrate the passage from the darkness to the  light, to honour the power of joy, of love, of passion. An epic hymn to life, to the fertility of the earth.

Every year Calton Hill gets crowed with people who let themselves involved in this impressive and suggestive celebration, which aims to reconnect the human spirit with the nature and its own seasons.

You can fell like being thrown into an alternative reality without time and space. A place filled with  a primordial energy, chanted by the pounding sound of the drums and illuminated with the fire of the torches.


Taking park of this ceremony leaves you speechless and astonished.

The fire burns what you left behind in the past, inaugurates a new season, a new light, a new life.




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