Royal Mile set for ‘night of the dead’

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IN an explosion of fire sculptures, drums, chanting and painted performers, Samhuinn – the ancient “night of the dead” – is set to take over the Royal Mile for the 25th time tonight.

The festival celebrates the Celtic New Year, although its origins are spread throughout the pagan and pre-Christian cultures of northern Europe.

Legend has it Samhuinn was when dead spirits paid one last visit to their relatives before crossing over to the other side, with people believing they needed protection from them. The tradition of Hallowe’en evolved from this ancient fear.

Tonight’s free event from 9-11pm will see up to 150 costumed performers tell the story of the triumph of winter through ritual and dance.

Tom Watton, Samhuinn event producer, said: “There will be every shade of the rainbow, with fire sculptures shooting 20, 30, feet into the air.”