Today, the 1st May, is widely celebrated around the world as International Worker’s Day. But did you know that May Day is also widely observed as a Gaelic Spring festival?

In the traditional pre-Christian European pagan cultures, the 1st of May is the first day of summer and the end of spring, and is celebrated with the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh on the night of 30th April.

Traditionally, May Day in the UK is celebrated through rites and celebrations consisting of Morris dancing, a traditional dance for land fertility, celebrations around a maypole full of colours and the crowning of the Queen of May. In Edinburgh, an older legend also says that young women who climb Arthur’s Seat and wash their faces in the morning dew will have lifelong beauty.

Picture1Photography “Crowning of the May Queen” by David Ayres 

Nowadays, the British celebrate the lighter days with a longer week end as the first Monday of May has been a bank holiday since 1978.

So what’s your plan for this blossoming weekend in Edinburgh?