Edinburgh Samhuinn Festival: a fire-filled Celtic New Year

Edinburgh Samhuinn Festival: a fire-filled Celtic New Year

J R Peterson

Everything you need to know about Beltane Fire Society's annual event

Hallowe'en is happening this weekend, which means you're probably knee deep in vampire capes and long black wigs as we speak. But trick or treating isn't the only thing happening this weekend – Samhuinn festival is taking place in Edinburgh's Old Town, and we've got the low down right here for you.

What is Samhuinn?
Well, I'm glad you asked. It's a festival marking Celtic New Year, as well as the end of summer and the onset of winter. Performers from the Beltane Fire Society come together to tell the story of a stand-off between the Summer King and the Winter King, all of which is overseen by the Cailleach (a Celtic representation of the Goddess, or Divine Hag).

That story sounds like a humdinger. How is it told?
Through performance, music and dance. People dress up in zany costumes, carry torches and do bits of performance throughout the night.

Where can I see it?
There'll be a torchlit performance on the Grassmarket, with acrobatics, fireworks, costumes and more.

From 7pm on Sat 31 Oct. Get there early if you want a good spot.

How do I get tickets?
You don't need tickets, silly. It's free to watch, though donations are welcome if you feel like chucking something in a bucket on the night.

Can I bring the kids?
If you like. Families are welcome at parental discretion (there's fire).

Samhuinn Fire Festival

Hosted by Beltane Fire Society, the Samhuinn Fire Festival celebrates the Celtic New Year, marking the end of summer and welcoming the onset of winter. The change of seasons is brought to life through wild drumming, fire-dancing, acrobatics, and vibrant costumes.

Calton Hill, Edinburgh

Thu 31 Oct

£8.80–£10 (Low income £3.30; Children £4.40–£5; under 5s free)

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