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14th March 2016

Beltane Fire Festival – Hill Walking Holidays

There is so much to do in Scotland in the month of May, why not enjoy one of Scotland’s famous hill walking holidays? Incorporating trips to local events along your route. Walking holidays in Scotland are always a great idea, made better with the help of EasyWays.

The Fire Festival marks the beginning of summer in Scotland and traditionally begins on the evening before 1 May.

It’s an ancient tradition, starting way back in the Iron Age, originally carried out by the Celts.

What does the Festival Mean?

It has its roots in early Irish literature and is associated with important events in Irish mythology.

It marked the start of summer, where farmers moved their cattle to summer pastures and crops were seeded.

The fires, special bonfires, were kindled to protect the cattle and the crops.

How was it celebrated?

Due to the importance of livestock and crops to the lives of the Celts, the bonfires were ceremonially lit and the celebration was participated in by all those who were able.

As well as the bonfires, all household fires would be doused and then relit from the bonfire.

Houses and cattle were also decorated with yellow May flowers to provide tribute to the bonfire.

And, of course, the town would gather for a large feast to rejoice the start of summer. Hill walking holidays are so popular around this area too, a great idea would be to plan a walking holiday near the time of the Festival!

Where can I find the celebrations?

enjoying fire festival after hill walking holidays Source

The modern festival was resurrected in 1988 by a group of Edinburgh University students. It now takes place on Calton Hill in Edinburgh in the form a procession.

A mighty, loud march begins at the National monument and ‘picks up’ various groups on the journey.

Leading the procession is the May Queen, with her handmaidens, and the Green Man. They represent fertility and growth respectively.

The groups encountered on the trail will either help or hinder the May Queen and Green Man on their quest.

The punctuation of the procession is a stage performance where the May Queen and Green Man light the bonfire, signifying the start of summer.

A feast then begins with food, drink and whisky! A great way to experience Scotland is to incorporate one of Scotland’s well known hill walking holidays. Walking the Fife Coastal Path, your chance of seeing some local cultured events is heightened.

Walk the Fife Coastal Path with EasyWays Hill Walking Holidays

The Fire Coastal Path can begin or end in North Queensferry, slightly north of Edinburgh.

Incorporate the Beltane festival, or one of the many things to do around Edinburgh, into your outdoors holiday. Take in some of the greatest views Scotland has to offer and end with local culture.

Also, interested in other special celebrations in Scotland? Look at our last post, which look at the beautiful daffodils this time of year.

Get in touch today to book or ask any questions! We look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you to Jim Champion for use of his photo.