Celebrate the first signs of summer at Scotland’s largest fire festival with a wild mix of fire displays, drumming, dance, and acrobatics. The Beltane Fire Festival is a living, dynamic reinterpretation and modernization of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual and is the largest of its kind. Beltane Fire Festival is a ticketed event which takes place on Calton Hill, Edinburgh, on 30th April every year – starts at 8 pm and closes around midnight.
For one special night, over 10,000 audiences will descend on Calton Hill to mark the change of the seasons. When the drums start to thunder, the May Queen awakens and leads her followers on a spectacular procession, watched by an audience of thousands against the backdrop of Edinburgh’s stunning skyline.
Beltane Fire Festival brings ancient Celtic traditions of celebrating the arrival of summer with a unique modern twist. Through dazzling fiery displays, elaborate costumes, thrilling nights and immersive storytelling, we show the May Queen transforming the Green Man from his wintry guise so they can rule together over the summer months.
The purpose of our festival is not to recreate ancient practices but to continue in the spirit of our ancient forebears and create our own connection to the cycles of nature. The largest of its kind, it started as a local community event in 1988.
One of the 4 quarter day festivals, Beltane saw members of communities come together to celebrate the return of the summer. It has grown from a small local event to one that now attracts attendees in the thousands. The procession starts from the National Monument.
Loosely translated, Beltane means ‘bright fire’ and that’s what you’ll see when the bonfire is lit. Drums, theatre, fire, pageantry – it’s an exciting experience. The festival is the joy and the revelry that is fostered in the ritual. It is about casting off the darkness and celebrating the birth of summer. It is a time for celebrating fertility, both in the context of our biological functions as well as our own creative energies, the fertility of our creative community.