Beltane Fire Festival

Publish Time:2016-04-28 10:04:45Source:WTCF

【Introduction】:Beltane Fire Festival is an annual participatory arts event and ritual drama, held on 1st May on Calton Hill in Edinburgh The festival is held on 1st May to indicate the beginning of summer, and it also marked the agricultural recovery and productive

Beltane Fire Festival is an annual participatory arts event and ritual drama, held on 1st May on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. The festival is held on 1st May to indicate the beginning of summer, and it also marks the agricultural recovery.

The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. The modern festival started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including the musical collective Test Dept, with academic support from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh.

While the festival draws on a variety of historical, mythological and literary influences, the organisers do not claim it to be anything other than a modern celebration of Beltane, evolving with its participants. Since then the festival has grown, and now involves over 300 voluntary collaborators and performers with available tickets often selling out.

The current Beltane started in 1988 by a small group of enthusiasts including Angus Farquhar of the musical collective Test Dept, choreographer Lindsay John, and dancers from Laban, as well as academics from the School of Scottish Studies at the University of Edinburgh. The event was intended as a celebration of traditional rituals as a local manifestation of an international spirit. Originally intended to take place on Arthur's Seat, the home of earlier Edinburgh Beltane celebrations, for practical reasons the location was moved to Calton Hill. Choreography, iconography and performance were moulded by the originators' research into historical accounts of Beltane and their own influences.

The Beltane Fire Society, a registered charity which runs the festival, is managed by a democratically elected voluntary committee, and all the performers are volunteers who either join by word of mouth or by attending one of the advertised open meetings held early in the year. Senior performers and artists in the society help others through workshops with aspects of event production, prop construction, character performance techniques, team building, percussion skills and the health and safety considerations involved. The society has also held fundraising art and music events and has held a 'mini-Beltane' at a local AIDS Hospice.

What’s that happening on Beltane Fire Festival are complete with fire, frolics and lashings of body paint as Edinburgh's populace gets pagan and elemental dancing and dazzling fire displays become the evening's entertainment for the 12,000 plus people in attendance. Then once their majestic story is played out, a bonfire is lit and the dancing commences, gleefully ensuring a mass celebration of the death of spring and the birth of summer. Just don't wear anything flammable.



Look out for the variety of characters on show too, like the magisterial May Queen and the red men, who give the event a wholly otherworldly feel. It's as if the creatures from Pan's Labyrinth grew sick of Spain and came to Scotland for their holidays, losing clothes and gaining an excitable fearlessness along the way.

Source of photos: Internet

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