Step back in time at Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival, an event deeply rooted in the region’s long, rich Celtic history. It celebrates the turn of the seasons and its major highlights are the jaw-dropping vibrant fire displays peppered with some acrobatics, drumming, and nudity on the side. Held on April 30th every year at Calton Hill, the festival is a modern interpretation of ancient Beltane festivities, which are focused on all things fire; that’s because smoke, flames, and ashes were thought of as a means of protection, a healer, and a purifier.
To the onlooker, the Beltane Fire Festival may be full of oddities and eccentricities but it’s absolutely entertaining in all aspects especially when considering its mythological influences produced in a scale that you won’t see anywhere else in the world.
This tradition started out in 1988 by a group of people from the Test Dept. musical collective as well as dancers and choreographers. It was originally intended as a means to celebrate ritualistic traditions. They placed their own unique spin into the performances, choreography, and iconography and it is now one of the biggest community events in Edinburgh. You’ll see things like people wearing nothing but loin cloth and red body paint, running through fields bearing torches, women donning white in a procession performance by the National Monument, drummers in black body paint, and a serious amount of fire and flames.
The primary narrative hasn’t changed, but visitors will be treated to a diverse variety of bizarre theatrical elements for a truly authentic Celtic experience. The Beltane Fire Festival means many important things, especially casting off darkness and welcoming the light. It’s a time to celebrate fertility both biologically and creatively speaking, for a truly special one-of-a-kind experience.
The Beltane Fire Festival takes place at Calton Hill in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh has a well-organized and efficient public transportation system, offering visitors a variety of options for getting around. Buses are popular and inexpensive, with day and night services. Trams with Wi-Fi are another great option. Edinburgh also has numerous cab and taxi services which are ideal for individuals and small groups.
Edinburgh has several districts to choose from. The Royal Mile is highly recommended, especially for first-time visitors; particularly if you want to see the iconic sights such as the Scottish Parliament and the Edinburgh Castle. New Town is an elegant district, known for its jaw-dropping Georgian architecture and terrific shopping.
The Grassmarket was once a site where people were hung, but don’t worry because there’s none of that now. The Grassmarket is filled with trendy bars, charming shops, and wonderful restaurants. If you want to explore Edinburgh’s nightlife, head over to Cowgate after dark. Other great districts include Leithe and Stockbridge.
Visiting Edinburgh is like walking into a history book. Not only is it bursting at the seams with historical attractions and insane architecture, there’s also lots of modern conveniences. It’s hard not to fall in love with the city: from dining at terrific restaurants, sipping on some of the best whiskey you’ve ever tried, catching a show in the theatre, or immersing in the antiquities at the Old Town.
The whiskey actually deserves a special mention; it’s one of the things Edinburgh is most famous for. The best way to experience the diverse premium whiskies is by taking a guided walk which is pretty much a bar hop.
The Beltane Fire Festival will take place on April 30th, 2019.
Rad Season is providing you with hotels and Airbnbs at the lowest prices available online. Book your stay for Beltane Fire Festival 2019 using the map below!
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