The festival brings a vivid display of fire play, acrobatics, drumming, and immersive theatre to the city.
This year’s event, on Saturday April 30, will once again offer a modern interpretation of the ancient Celtic holiday Beltane, where traditional communities marked the end of Winter with their own fiery rituals.
The Beltane Fire Festival is the largest event of its kind in Europe. It tells the story of the transition from Winter to Summer, which can only happen when the Green Man, an archetypal figure in folklore all over the UK, dies and is reborn. He does so in order to shake off the last remnants of Winter so that he can join the May Queen, a goddess figure, as her consort.
The story has variations on it each year, but at its core contains messages about celebrating community and retaining ties with our natural world.
Tom Watton, Chair of the Beltane Society Board, said: “Beltane is a living, breathing festival, and we are very much looking forward to bringing our community back together in person to celebrate this year, having been forced online by Covid restrictions for the last two years.
“Beltane 2022 will be a wild, vibrant, exciting, fiery celebration involving performers from Scotland, the UK and across Europe. And we can’t wait.”
The event has been taking place in the Capital since 1988. But due to the pandemic, it has taken place virtually in the past two years.
Last year, the volunteers who would ordinarily take part in the famous fire festival were invited to submit ideas that can tell the Beltane story online through video, art, photography, poetry, and song. These pieces of artwork were shared as part of a series of chapters, each evoking a certain point in the festival’s traditional journey around Calton Hill.