Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Beltane Fire Festival Welcomes Summer With Flames, Nudity, Masks, And More

Torches Beltane Fire Festival
Sporting only red body paint and loin clothes, members of the Beltane Fire Society run through a muddy field with their torches while celebrating.

Forget buying a new bathing suit; each year, performers in Edinburgh, Scotland's Beltane Fire Festival welcome summer with flames and nudity.

Beltane, in case you weren’t up-to-date on your ancient Gaelic history, is a Pagan holiday celebrated on May 1, halfway between the spring equinox and the summer solstice. The Beltane festival marks the beginning of summer, and celebrates the fertility of the coming year. It is one of the four Gaelic seasonal festivals—along with Samhain (more commonly known as Halloween these days), Imbolc and Lughnasadh.

Fire plays an important role in the Beltane festivities: historically, flames, smoke, and ashes from bonfires kindled during the festival were thought to have protective powers. All household fires would be doused and then re-lit from the Beltane bonfire.

During the Beltane feast, food and drink would be offered to the aos sí, the faeries. Homes and cattle were then decorated with yellow May flowers, another invocation of fire.

In modern times, the Beltane Fire Society has revived these ancient traditions by celebrating the Beltane Fire Festival on April 30 in Calton Hill Park:
Procession Beltane Fire Festival

Fire Symbols Beltane Fire Festival

Goddess Beltane Fire Festival

Black Mask Torch

Yellow Beltane Fire Festival

White Robe Beltane Fire Festival

Drummers Beltane Fire Festival

Sunset Staffs

Black Paint Beltane Fire Festival

Woman Fire Teeth

The Annual Beltane Fire Festival

Green Man Beltane Fire Festival

Flower Goddess Beltane Fire Festival

Blue Man Beltane Fire Festival

A Masked Performer Takes Part In The Bel

Torches People Dancing

A Masked Performer Takes Part In The Bel

Red Man Beltane Fire Festival

Red Firedancers Beltane Fire Festival

Fire Dancers

Fire Dancer Beltane Fire Festival


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