I spent my 2017 Hallowe’en doing something a little bit different – watching Edinburgh’s Samhuinn Festival on the Royal Mile.
The streets were packed with revellers of all ages, relishing in the thrill of the fire festival and it is easy to get caught up in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, due to a pit stop at Macdonalds and a queue for the shower in the hostel my friend and I were quite late to the party and ended up at the end of the parade (that’s right, the dark spirits parade down the Mile!) behind hoards of people, but we were still able to enjoy some of the most exhilirating action as the event reached its climax.
Samhuinn has been celebrated in Edinburgh since 1995, and the same organisers also put on a Beltane celebration every spring on Calton Hill (around the same time as a million of my deadlines both years I lived there, which is why I never made it). It’s intricate street theatre celebrating the area’s history as well as traditional Scottish tales and has been enjoyed by thousands of people over the years. I wouldn’t hesitated to guess that there were thousands of people there that night alone, let alone accumulated over the years!
The story each year is the same – the battle of summer between summer and winter – and is told through a combination of music, dance and acting. The official website explains: “The narrative focuses on this conflict and its resolution, but also focuses on the transition that many aspects of life take during the changing of the seasons.”
So would I recommend heading to the Royal Mile for Hallowe’en if you were in Edinburgh? Absolutely – I fully intend to head along to Samhuinn again sometime in the future and maybe not be running so late so I can get a better spot in the crowds!
To find out more about Samhuinn check out: http://www.beltane.org/about-samhuinn.
Looking for some other spooky tourism this October? For some Dracula inspired adventure in England, why not check out Whitby Abbey…