Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Fire festival lights up Edinburgh to celebrate start of winter

Participant with fire in background Image copyright Amy-Sinead Moran/Beltane Fire Society
Image caption The festival celebrates Scotland's heritage with a modern reimagining of the Celtic New Year

The annual Samhuinn fire festival, celebrating the start of winter, has been held on Edinburgh's Calton Hill for the first time in 600 years.

More than 4,000 people gathered to watch hundreds of performers retell ancient stories.

A participant making fire rings Image copyright Ken Dunton/Beltane Fire Society

Participants acted out the ritual battle between the summer and winter kings.

Organisers have found historical accounts of similar celebrations staged on the hill in the 1400s.

Two participants painted red Image copyright Ashley Erdman/Beltane Fire Society

Erin Macdonald, chair of Beltane Fire Society, who organised the event, described the night as "truly magical".

She said: "It's been wonderful watching our volunteers reimagine what our winter festival could look like, seeing it come to life on Calton Hill last night after so much hard work and creativity was inspiring.

"Enormous thanks go out to our volunteers, who gave their all to a real passion-project, and to our audience who always help create that special atmosphere on the night."

Participants and onlookers gather around a fire Image copyright Scott A. Winchester/Beltane Fire Society
A participant with illuminated circle Image copyright Amy-Sinead Moran/Beltane Fire Society
Stage performance Image copyright Sean Bluestone/Beltane Fire Society
Image caption The event finished with a stage performance and lighting of a bonfire looking out over Edinburgh
Part of the reenactment Image copyright Neil Barton/Beltane Fire Society
Image caption Winter and summer characters woke up and battled it out all over Calton Hill, so audience members could choose their own route through the story
A face painted participant Image copyright Ken Dunton/Beltane Fire Society
A face painted participant Image copyright Ashley Erdman/Beltane Fire Soc
Image caption Nearly 20 performance groups and almost 400 volunteers took part, making it the largest Samhuinn production in Beltane Fire Society's history

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