This year’s Samhuinn Fire Festival, the event held in Edinburgh every Halloween to mark the end of summer and beginning of winter, is to move beyond its usual Royal Mile route and will now climax at the Mound Precinct.
With more than 6,000 spectators last year, the Beltane Fire Society event has become so popular it’s had to move its finale to its new city centre location by Princes Street, so thousands more people can watch the spectacle and mark the turning seasons.
The celebration will begin at 9pm on Friday 31 October at the High Street, with a procession of drums, fire and characters from celtic lore making their way from the High Street at the Royal Mile, down Cockburn Street, and on to the stage at the Mound Precinct for the final battle between the forces of Summer and Winter.
Sara Thomas, event co-ordinator said: “It’s great to be taking Samhuinn to the very heart of the city this year. The extra space at the stage on the Mound Precinct means we can make the event more spectacular than ever, and far more people will be able to see every moment. It’s an incredible event, fantastic to watch – even more so given all the performers are volunteers, we don’t get any formal funding, and the audience can turn up on the night with no need to buy tickets – just make a donation to our lovely Bucketeers.”
Becky Salter, playing the key role of the Cailleach in the event, said: “Samhuinn is a wonderful event to be part of, full of fire, drums and excitement. There’s nothing like it anywhere in the world. We want the people of Edinburgh to share it with us, to join us in marking the end of Summer and the rise of Winter – and this extended route will mean far more people can witness it all.”
Attendance at Samhuinn Fire Festival is by donation on the night, with no ticket needed.
The event is organised by the Beltane Fire Society, a charity run by volunteers, dedicated to marking the fire festivals of the ancient celtic calendar and keeping traditional Scottish skills of street theatre, music and pageantry alive.
Samhuinn Fire Festival is a modern ‘re-imagining’ of an ancient celtic festival marking the end of summer and rise of winter. The modern event 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.