May Day, or Beltane’s Aftermath

Edinburgh Expeditions

Happy May Day to you all!

Last night, I stood out on the cold Calton Hill with about 10,000 other revelers to banish winter and welcome in summer. We watched the Beltane Festival, a modern reinterpretation of the pre-Christian Spring celebration. We weren’t entirely certain of what we were getting ourselves into, only that there would be fire

The Drummers

The Drummers, Beltane 2012

At nightfall, we moved to the other side of the Acropolis, to welcome the much-needed fire! It was absolutely freezing on Calton Hill–I wore my heavy down coat and shivered more than at Hogmanay (New Year’s celebrations). Unfortunately, being a bit vertically challenged (and in the middle of the crowd), I couldn’t see much more than this, the Processionals lighting the fire.

Lighting the fires

Lighting the fires

After, we watched some fire dancing (including flaming hula hoops), thoroughly impressed. I’d like to try my hand at it some time.

The night continued on, still freezing cold. There were more processions, dancing, and finally the Green Man and May Queen lit the massive bonfire! Warmth at last!

Dancing by Flames

Dancing by Flames

For more serious information about Beltane, visit

4 thoughts on “May Day, or Beltane’s Aftermath

  1. It wasn’t the Processionals that lit the fire 🙂 It was the Blues and the guys in charge of the Neid fire.

    Processionals are the drummers at the head of the procession. We were wearing blakc and gold, and were standing for ages on the Acropolis – you were cold? :p I was shaking!

    Glad you enjoyed it though. If you live locally, get involved! We do two main quarter day celebrations, Beltane and Samhuinn. Look us up at

    And Happy Beltane, and a lovely summer to you!


    1. Ah, thanks for the correction! I couldn’t see much at all from where I was standing (the problems of being average height).

      Yes, you must have been freezing!

      A lovely summer to you as well, thank you for stopping by!


  2. Sorry to say that I hadn’t had chance to catch up with your blog for a while but now that I have it strikes me how great life seems to be for you at the moment. This is really reflected in your writing here. I hope it goes on getting better and better and better for you.


    1. Life’s certainly going well for me at the moment! Really enjoying it. I’m in dissertation mode, the sun is shining (or was), and I’m spending time with friends.


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