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Beltane Festival

Held every year at the top of Edinburgh's Calton Hill, the Beltane Fire Festival is a modern take on an ancient Celtic fertility ceremony. Costumed revellers dance around the hill accompanied by drummers, musicians and spectacular props.

Founded in 1988 the festival now attracts upwards of 10,000 spectators. The core group still organises the celebrations, but anyone interested in taking part can refer to the Beltane website.

The festival begins when May Queen emerges from the Acropolis, accompanied by her White Women. Together with her consort, the Green Man, they process to sites dedicated to each of the four elements. After the Dionysian Red Men have been seen off, the Green Man undergoes a symbolic death and resurrection before marrying the May Queen. Bonfires are lit, the May Queen returns to her bower and the festival continues with fire-jumping and other entertainment.

Beltane Festival, Edinburgh. Courtesy of Beltane, © Ove Hansen

Beltane Festival Information

When: 30 Apr 2011 (annual)

Where: Edinburgh

Cost: Ticketed (see wesbite for details)

Opening Hours:

Address: Edinburgh

Hotels near Calton Hill

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