Tomorrow is the 1st of May and marks the beginning of Summer.
In Edinburgh we celebrate with the Beltane Fire Festival at Calton Hill with over 12,000 people attending to watch the dancers, drummers and fire eaters to name a few.
The name derives from the Gaelic-Celtic word meaning bright / sacred fire. It was held to mark the blossoming of spring and the pastoral event of moving livestock to their summer grazing.
It was a celebration of the fertility of the land and their animals. The main traditional element which was common to all Beltane festivals was the fire which gave it its name.
All the fires in the community would be put out and new. sacred "need Fire" was lit by the village head or spiritual leader. The animals would be driven through or between them.
It was believed that the smoke and flame of the fires would purify the herd, protecting them in the year to come and ensuring a good number of offspring.
The villagers would then take pieces of the fire to their homes and relight their hearths, dance clockwise around the bonfires to ensure good portents for them and their families.
Celebrations begin at sundown on 30th April , if it's possible stay up all night long with your partner or lover and face the sunrise with a smile. Beltain dew is traditionally perfect for making people (women) beautiful; it's said to be particularly potent if gathered from an oak tree. Pause for a moment and enjoy the sounds of the birds, enjoy the morning scents and feel the new Summer's energy flow through you brightening your spirit - even dance together.
Sunrise is 5.25am Friday morning so you will have to set your alarm early !
Here are some images from last years Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh.
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