Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Samhuinn Fire Festival in Edinburgh marks start of winter

edinburgh fire festival Image copyright Mark S. I. Taylor
Image caption More than 100 performers marked the turning seasons with the traditional Celtic festival

The end of summer and start of winter has been been marked with a huge Celtic fire festival in Edinburgh.

The Samhuinn Fire Festival featured ancient Celtic traditions, fire, drumming and acrobatics combined with pyrotechnics and martial arts.

The event, held in Edinburgh every Halloween night to mark the turning of the seasons, had a record number of spectators on a new bigger route.

It started at 21:00 on Friday from the High Street and finished at The Mound.

A procession of drums, fire and characters from Celtic lore made their way from the High Street and down Cockburn Street.

It then travelled along Market Street and down Playfair Steps where there was a show on a stage at The Mound.

King of Summer

Speaking ahead of the event, Sara Thomas, Samhuinn Fire Festival event co-ordinator, said: "It's a chance to witness a truly unique event, and be part of a traditional Celtic celebration of the end of summer and beginning of winter.

"This year spectators can expect a new procession route, fire, mischief, celebration, drumming and tragedy.

"With the weather already turning, can the King of Summer defend his realm against the oncoming cold, or will the Prince of Winter prevail?

"Also this year we're taking the story online on the night too: use #Samhuinn2014 to share your experience of the night on social media, and get our real-time updates on what's happening."

Samhuinn has been held in Edinburgh since 1995. Its spring and summer counterpart, Beltane, takes place on Calton Hill on the last day of April each year, and has been running since 1988.

Image copyright Mark S. I. Taylor
Image caption Despite the rain, more people than ever turned out to watch the event
Image copyright michelle linnane
Image caption For the first time the celebrations began on the Royal Mile and ended at a stage at the Mound
Image copyright Neil Barton
Image caption The performers dressed as characters from Celtic lore and the forces of summer and winter
Image copyright James Illing
Image caption The festival is a modern "reimagining" of an ancient event marking All Hallows' Eve
Image copyright Bleu Hope
Image caption The modern event has been held in Edinburgh since 1995

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