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Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival 2023: A Unique Gaelic Experience

At Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival, a celebration with a strong Celtic heritage, you can travel back in time.

The festival honours the changing of the seasons, and its main attractions are the stunningly colourful fire shows that are interspersed with acrobatics, drumming, and naughtiness. The event, which is always held on April 30th at Calton Hill, is a contemporary rendition of the old Beltane celebrations, which are centred on all things fire since smoke, flames, and ashes were regarded as a form of protection, a healer, and a cleanser.

Beltane Fire Festival

On Calton Hill is where the festival is held. It is a procession that begins at the National Monument, also known as the Beltan Acropolis, and travels anticlockwise around the trail, stopping to interact with different groups along the way. The procession is propelled by the drumming, which pushes it relentlessly toward summer.

The May Queen and the Green Man lead the parade, followed by a long line of figures who are inextricably connected to them and their voyage. Numerous organisations that either support or obstruct their path toward the fates of the May Queen and the Green Man mark their objective.

The May Queen and Green Man start a large bonfire to symbolise the beginning of summer after a theatrical stage performance symbolising its arrival. The community phase of the performance follows. The Bower is the location where everyone assembles. From here, the festival’s concluding motions are performed in a red and white dance. The warm, hearty meals and beverages that a fatigued and frequently chilly cast and crew need are also offered here.

The line separating performers and audience subsequently blurs, as the festival, artists, musicians, and crowd dissipate into the night, erasing memories of a singular and memorable event.

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