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Beltane Fire Festival lights up Edinburgh

By Shaunna Whitters

Beltane Fire Society performers celebrate the coming of summer.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Beltane Fire Society performers celebrate the coming of summer. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Thousands of revellers gathered at the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh last night.

The event, which is held to mark the start of summer each year, hosts theatre displays, dance and acrobatics. The festival is led by two key figures, the May Queen and the Green Man. Both lead the revellers to a massive bonfire to welcome people and mark the first morning of summer.

A fire procession wound its way up Calton Hill with groups performing different acts at set locations.

A spokesman for the Beltane Fire Society, who organises the event, said: “Last night went very well. Feedback so far from performers and audience has been very positive.”

“Everyone takes away their own highlights from the night, which can range vastly from being able to speak to the May Queen at the end to seeing something stunning or meeting someone special up the hill  – it is a fertility festival, let’s not forget.”

“We’re just pleased to be doing what we love in the city we love. If we can keep doing that and finding new ways to explore our interpretation of a modern Celtic fire festival, that sounds good to us.’”

The event celebrates the ending of winter and is a revival of the ancient Celtic and Pagan festival of Beltane, the Gaelic name for the month of May. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The event celebrates the ending of winter and is a revival of the ancient Celtic and Pagan festival of Beltane, the Gaelic name for the month of May. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Sean Boyes, 26, was at the festival and described the night as ‘special’. He said: “It was a fantastic event and all of the acts were superb. The effort and time that goes into the practice for these individuals is just unbelievable.” 

“It definitely is a special event even if we don’t get a summer in Scotland.”

Another reveller, Laura Sutherland, 25, also had fun at the festivities. She said: “The bonfire looked sensational and the acts were also very good. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.”

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