If you find yourself in Edinburgh on 30th April you could be forgiven for thinking you’d taken a step back in time. By a good couple of centuries, at least! Because this is the night when tens of thousands of spectators make their way to the top of iconic Calton Hill to welcome in the summer. It’s the Beltane Fire Festival, a medieval celebration that has happily reclaimed its place in modern-day Edinburgh. And it’s a sight not to be missed.
History of the Beltane Fire Festival
In years gone by, people celebrated the changing of the seasons with Pagan rituals which promoted a warm and prosperous summer. Beltane, meaning ‘bright light’, used fire to represent the burning sun and took place on the last evening before May Day. A mainly Celtic festival, it died out in the late 1800s. But university researchers brought it back . And now, over a quarter of a century on, the new and modern version sees supporters ascend Calton Hill in their droves to watch over 300 performers. They use music, light shows and the ever-popular fire displays to keep the history of the Beltane Fire Festival alive.
Beltane Fire Festival 2018
This year, marvel at the different groups at the Beltane Fire Festival. Watch them interact with each other as they set the scene for the evening performance. See the May Queen rise from the earth and parade with her guardians around the Acropolis. Watch the rebirth of the Green Man, symbolising new life. And see them ignite the bonfire together, surrounded by drummers, faeries and woodland folk.
Book Your Beltane Fire Festival Break
At Parliament House Hotel we are the perfect choice for your Beltane Fire Festival accommodation. We are located at the very foot of Calton Hill, where the event takes place. Book our comfortable and affordable accommodation in Edinburgh and you can walk to the festival in around five minutes. Our restaurant, MPs Bistro, has a great pre-theatre menu to take advantage of too. Tickets for the Beltane are on sale now. (Please bear in mind that the festival is aimed at over 18s).