Calton Hill, Edinburgh.

30th April 1988 - present
  • Description

Beltane is Edinburgh’s ancient celtic fire festival, re-initiated by Angus Farquhar in 1988. The festival had not taken place for a century due to pressure from ‘The Kirk’.

The Beltane festival originates in the Scottish and Irish pre-Christian festivals of the same name. The name itself is thought to have derived from a Gaelic-Celtic word meaning bright/sacred fire. It was held to mark and celebrate the blossoming of Spring, and coincided with the ancient pastoral event of moving livestock to their summer grazing. Its roots lie in the enduring myths of the Earth Goddess, the ritual of the May Queen reunited with her consort, the Green Man.

Today, it’s wishing for a good summer (we need it in Scotland!), celebrating rebirth after the long cold winter through the transforming energy of fire, and an excuse to get outside with the poison of your choice and lose yourself in the night, the sites and the rhythms.

From its small beginnings, Beltane has grown in reputation and scale, and currently attracts up to 15,000 revellers and over 300 performers. An annual pilgrimage for many, if you happen to be near Edinburgh on the eve of April 30th then head for the hill and celebrate the fertility of the coming summer. For more information visit


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