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

On firsts

General Geekiness, The Twirl and Swirl of Letters

Today the sun was out, the birds weren’t quite singing, and it was warm enough for my mom and me to brave the outdoors.

So we made the first fire of the season. We piled sticks and logs from last winter’s ice storm into our little outdoor fireplace and let it burn. There’s no better way to dispose of dead tree limbs than to burn them.

While we were enjoying our fire, we decided to toast marshmallows as well. I’m now officially a grown up–I made not one, not two, but three perfect, golden marshmallows. The last one was true perfection, the divine come down to earth and made a toasted marshmallow. The outside was the color of toast, and the inside molten.

I can’t wait to make s’mores this summer.