Edinburgh residents on their way down Arthur's Seat after the Mayday Sunrise Service in 1966.
Edinburgh residents on their way down Arthur's Seat after the Mayday Sunrise Service in 1966.

Edinburgh's May Day: These 20 pictures from the 1950s and 1960s show how May Day was celebrated in the Capital

May Day has been celebrated across Europe and further afield for centuries and people celebrate the arrival of summer (although it can often feel less than summery in Scotland).

Wednesday, 27th April 2022, 3:35 pm

In Edinburgh half a century ago, May Day was marked in a number of ways across the city.

Arthur’s Seat was the centre of celebrations, with crowds attending a religious service taking place at the summit each year.

Meanwhile, tradition says that if you get up early and wash your face in the morning dew on on Arthur’s Seat on May Day you will benefit from a flawless complexion for the rest of the year.

The practice still takes place to a lesser extent today, but 50 years ago it saw scores of young women make the ascent at first light.

Processions would often take place on Princes Street, while the day was also popular with campaigners looking for publicity for their cause.

More recently the Beltane Fire Festival has held on the evening of May eve and into the early hours of May Day on the city's Calton Hill.

Here are 20 pictures to take you back to May Day in Edinburgh over half a century ago.

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