Beltane Fire Festival
April 30, 2007 12:15 AM   Subscribe

The Beltane Fire Society Fire Festival. Happy Beltane! [Some links NSFW.]
posted by homunculus (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
And Happy Valborg.
posted by three blind mice at 12:28 AM on April 30, 2007


(Though this Wednesday is the first full moon after the 1st of May, so I guess technically that's really Beltane. But the festival is tonight.)
posted by homunculus at 12:31 AM on April 30, 2007


Now THAT is religious pagentry.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:07 AM on April 30, 2007


The revival of Beltane has been one of my favourite aspects of living in Edinburgh, but the current council's attitude to it has ruined it. (1,2, 3, etc)

They charge massive fees for the use of public space, even though the Beltane crowd always police themselves, tidy up after themselves, the lot.

And now the Beltane Fire Society charge for access. Wrong, all wrong, although I understand their position, and it's the Council's fault, not theirs. I'm working to get Greens elected to Edinburgh Council in Thursday's election, and one of the reasons is that I hope it could lead to a free Beltane again.
posted by imperium at 1:10 AM on April 30, 2007


I'm working to get Greens elected to Edinburgh Council in Thursday's election, and one of the reasons is that I hope it could lead to a free Beltane again.

We may be reasonably assured that conducting ancient pagan ceremonies offers no statistically significant benefit to crop yields, the fertility of young women, or the number of evil spirits inhabiting the landscape. On the other hand, we can be reasonably certain that adding more Co2 to the atmosphere will exacerbate an existing environmental problem. Given this, why would a "Green" supporter want to dump all of this Co2 into the atmosphere for this purpose? Anarchists I would understand, but Greens?
posted by three blind mice at 2:31 AM on April 30, 2007


People walking up a hill to have a party don't cause much Co2 (virtually no-one drives to it). Sure, it's then a fire festival, but the ecological impact is very low, and it's also fun. You know, fun is good. Other parties may disagree, but greens like to have a good time.

It's also a civil liberties question. Why should people have to pay a licencing fee to gather on a hill in their own town, get naked, paint themselves red, and dance?
posted by imperium at 2:45 AM on April 30, 2007


Sure, it's then a fire festival, but the ecological impact is very low, and it's also fun. You know, fun is good. Other parties may disagree, but greens like to have a good time.

That's what John Travolta might say about his flying.
posted by three blind mice at 3:30 AM on April 30, 2007


And indeed the problem with climate change isn't Travolta's fault, not even the air travel section of it - it's the global failure to tax air fuel and put a proper cap and trade system in for carbon emissions.

It's not a hobby I'd go for, but he's definitely not the problem.

Anyone else around to get us back on topic?
posted by imperium at 3:44 AM on April 30, 2007


We may be reasonably assured that conducting ancient pagan ceremonies offers no statistically significant benefit to crop yields, the fertility of young women, or the number of evil spirits inhabiting the landscape.
Says you. I and the good lady wife cavorted naked in the allotment last May Eve, and the petunias have come up lovely, I won prizes for me turnips at the Three Counties Show and the daughter's having triplets.
posted by Abiezer at 4:29 AM on April 30, 2007 [4 favorites]


I happen to think John Travolta would make a lovely Beltane sacrifice. Perhaps one could convince him it was all just another remake...
posted by geos at 5:28 AM on April 30, 2007


Thanks for posting this homunculus. Despite living within line-of-sight of Calton Hill (where the event takes place) I didn't realise it was tonight.

Thanks to this posting I've now got a ticket for the event and - if the unusually nice weather this afternoon holds - it should be great!
posted by stumcg at 5:46 AM on April 30, 2007


I remember they sacrificed a frozen chicken onetime, didn't they bring it up in a shopping trolley ?
posted by sgt.serenity at 5:56 AM on April 30, 2007


This is *so* much cooler than the non-pagan festival I just encountered near my home in rural Florida:

Morning Events: at the Community Center
posted by JamesToast at 6:23 AM on April 30, 2007


Huron Beltane Fire Dance. I LOVE this song.
posted by mike3k at 7:31 AM on April 30, 2007


Happy Valborg to you too, three blind mice! This used to be my favorite holiday living in Sweden. We would spend all fall dragging old trees and old furniture to the local majbrasa (bonfire), and it would have just thawed out by the last day in April. Add to that some good, rousing singing and a lot of drinking, and you get one heck of a good holiday!
posted by gemmy at 8:23 AM on April 30, 2007


I live on the wrong continent.
posted by Skorgu at 8:33 AM on April 30, 2007 [1 favorite]


I went to Edinburgh's Beltane one time in a large group which included, bizarrely, two evangelical Christians.

One of them fled after five minutes, moaning about witchcraft.

The other, to her eternal credit, ran up to the largest fire and shouted "I'm a Christian - burn me first!"

True story.
posted by imperium at 8:50 AM on April 30, 2007 [3 favorites]


Thanks to this posting I've now got a ticket for the event and - if the unusually nice weather this afternoon holds - it should be great!

Yay! Let us know how it goes!
posted by homunculus at 9:30 AM on April 30, 2007


beltane is my favorite holiday. we used to meet every year on the beach and light one up and take our first dip in the *insane* cold of Lake Superior, icebergs be damned.

one year i wrote an article on Beltane for a local indie weekly. the cover photo was of a friend of mine painted red holding a torch--an imitation of the Fire Society photos. a bunch of the local pagans got all up in my shit for making it out to be about sex, fertility and, well, wild-fun. it was so embarrassing, since when i was interviewing them it became apparent they knew absolutely nothing about the holiday.
posted by RedEmma at 11:49 AM on April 30, 2007


Next time, could you please mark what videos are NSFW, so it's easier to skip directly to them?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:26 PM on April 30, 2007


Yay! Let us know how it goes!

Better yet, how about I show you some photos!
posted by stumcg at 1:23 AM on May 1, 2007


Nice! Thanks for sharing.
posted by homunculus at 11:46 AM on May 1, 2007


Yes, thank you!
posted by Skorgu at 1:44 PM on May 1, 2007


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