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Every year, The Beltane Festival gathers hundreds of people to celebrate the coming of Summer on Calton Hill, in Edinburgh. This modern reimagining takes its roots in an ancient Celtic festival marking the changing seasons. Everyone comes together to celebrate the end of Winter and the beginning of Spring in a mix of music, fire and physical performances.
The festival draws all kind of street performers, split into different groups, each having its own theme for the costumes the put on according to the characters they represent. You will encounter the Blues, keepers of the ritual, the Whites, companions of the May Queen and the Reds, those who embody chaos.
Body painting, loose leaves, and long feathers are all common parts of their costumes. The performers are also not afraid to show a little (or even a lot of) skin! The many entertainers demonstrate their skills in acting, dancing and acrobatics often mixed with impressive pyrotechnics. Fire has a significant place and meaning throughout the festival, as it symbolises warmth during the cold night. Beltane’s many fires literally burn the last traces of Winter away, enabling Spring to come out of their ashes.
Enter a journey from sunset through the middle of the night, and watch all the rituals that make this event so special come to life in this video.