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Beltane Fire Festival, Scotland

Beltane Fire Festival

How many holidays, seasons and festivals have you celebrated by lighting a fire? We’re not talking about the Yule Log on TV, but the real thing—bright, hot, passionate fire. Pack your bags for Edinburgh and learn about fire’s role in the Beltane Fire Festival to welcome the longer days as we careen towards summer.

Don’t be disappointed, but the current festival doesn’t involve livestock. Run by the Beltane Fire Society, it’s a procession, beginning at the National Monument and winds counter-clockwise along a path. Leading the parade is the May Queen and the Green Man, and at its end, they light a huge bonfire. Dancing, food, drink and music ensue.

Since spring festivals celebrate abundance and earthly delights, the Beltane Fire Festival includes some folks who prefer to experience the evening without clothes. If you are threatened by the temptation, duck into the bower with your sweetie and strengthen the bonds of your relationship by being handfasted. It won’t hurt.