only here for a few years. some of whom are professional performers and some of whom not.'

Beltane celebrations have a long and illttstrious history in Scotland. but do they haye any cultural releyancc today'.’ After all. most of us long since gaye tip on agriculture as a means of earning a liying. 'I'opher sees parallels howeyer. with those first lierders gathering together to ensure their continued well-being. 'Beltane is a time when people are hound together with a common goal.’ he says. 'Beltane in lidinhurgh brings together a diyerse cross-section of the community with the common goal. firstly of the pure celebration of the season. but also to enrich the cultural heritage of lidinhurgh itself.‘

.\loying on to a more modern shared goal then. we‘ve heard of another burgeoning tradition for Beltane night: that of haying sex on (‘alton llill. How does this fit into the framework enyisaged hy the Beltane l-‘ire Society? 'I can‘t say it’s actiyely encouraged -- really. it‘s got nothing to do with tis.’ says 'I'opher. ‘I think that it has to he a very personal ritual between two people.’

More over page >

Beltane, Calton Hill, Edinburgh, Sun 30 Apr, 9.30pm. Those with small children or limited mobility should contact the Beltane Fire Society on 0131 228 5353. The Society requests that you do not bring glass bottles. See club listings for pre and post-Beltane nights.

Stirling's May Day Procession and Fire Spectacular, Stirling Castle, Sun 7 May.


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