A newly expanded Samhuinn Fire Festival will be bringing Celtic spirit to Edinburgh’s Calton Hill for the second time this October. After a sell out in 2018, 7,000 tickets have been made available for this year’s celebration of the Celtic New Year on Thursday 31 October. The expansion makes Samhuinn the same size as its summer equivalent, the Beltane Fire Festival.
The charity-run event marks the change of the seasons by resurrecting Celtic traditions for a modern audience. It tells the story of the Winter King and the Summer King, who enter a ritual struggle with the help of their otherworldly followers, before the mysterious goddess the Cailleach emerges and decides both their fates. The audience get to wander through the immersive battle, which is brought to life with fire, drumming, acrobatics and theatre all over Calton Hill.
The festival also draws on some of the rituals from ancient Samhuinn celebrations, including the lighting of the sacred Neid fire, believed to be purifying in old Celtic communities. All the fire at Samhuinn Fire Festival will be lit from one single flame, which this year will symbolise community and togetherness
Brad Mcarthur, chair of the Beltane Fire Society said: ‘We are very excited to once again bring Samhuinn Fire Festival to our spiritual home on Calton Hill for this year’s celebrations. As the popularity of our Winter festival has grown over the years, building from our experiences last year we are increasing the capacity to ensure as many people as possible get to experience such a special night.
‘There is a lot of creative energy from our volunteers taking on the challenge of making this festival stand out compared to our Beltane festival, which also takes place on the hill. We already have plans from groups to have fire spinning, drumming, acrobatics, Gaelic singing and more as part of their performances. All of this will create a unique experience for those brave enough to come along this dark Autumn night!’
Tickets are available via ethical platform Citizen Ticket and 5% of the cost of each ticket will be donated to an environmental charity as part of the festival’s commitment to sustainability.