Inspired by ancient rituals, the Beltane Fire Society put on their annual festival to celebrate the start of summer. According to the Celtic calendar the transition into the 1st May brings with it new beginnings and a celebration of fertility. The word Beltane translates as “bright fire” and is thought to be a purifier and healer. As such the pagan community come together to reconnect with mother earth. The Beltane Fire Festival however is an artistic and dramatized reinterpretation and lays no claims to its spiritual origins, welcoming one and all to the festivities. The Beltane Fire Festival has been running since 1988 having recently relocated from its original location of Arthur’s seat.
Once you are in Edinburgh it is easy to reach the festivities, which take place in a central location on Calton Hill. The park is within walking distance from train and bus stations. Edinburgh also has its own international airport which is only half an hour away. Tickets are £8.50 in advance or £10 on the day which goes towards running costs. Under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult and under 12’s allowed in for free, although must still have a ticket in advance. Gates open at 8pm, with entrance via Waterloo Place.
Previous years have sold out, so book tickets in advance. These are then available for collection 2 hours prior to the performance. While those under 18 are allowed on site, parental discretion is advised due to the show containing nudity and sexual references. Arrive on time as not to miss anything, follow the parade and storyline through to the end. If you are not familiar with the history of Beltane read up online as well as how it links in to other pagan ceremonies. The Beltane Fire Festival encourages crowd participation. Contact the organisers if you are looking to bring your own spiritual group to the proceedings.
If you are planning to visit Edinburgh for the Beltane Fire Festival, choose from a selection of houses and apartments, flats, B&B’s, spare rooms and other private rentals close to Calton Hill in the city centre. Getting around is easiest on foot, or the public bus service is available to travel into the city. Check our accommodation in Edinburgh.
Return to Calton Hill during the day to fully appreciate the location, take a stroll through Holyrood Park and visit Arthur’s Seat for more scenic views. Visiting the impressive Edinburgh Castle is a must, walk the Royal Mile or Step aboard the famous Royal Yacht Britannia.
Find out more about Beltane Fire Festival, including: What is Beltane? It’s historical background and modern takes on the festival, the location of Beltane Fire Festival, information relating to Samhuinn, Imbolc and Lughnasadh, visit the Beltane Fire Society website.
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