Edinburgh

  • Beltane Festival

    Beltane is an ancient Gaelic holiday celebrated around 1 May, historically celebrated in Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man. It is a fire festival that celebrates the coming of summer and the renewed fertility of the coming year.The festival survives in folkloric practices in these nations (and the diaspora), and has experienced a degree of revival in recent decades, not only in the British Isles, but also in countries further afield such as the USA. The word Beltane is thought to have derived from a Gae... Read More

  • Burry Man of South Queensferry

    The Burryman or Burry Man is the central figure in an annual procession which takes place on the second Friday in August in South Queensferry, north of Edinburgh, on the south bank of the Firth of Forth. The custom is associated with, but separate from, the town's Ferry Fair. The meaning and origins of this ceremony are now unclear. The Burry Man himself is a local man almost completely covered, as the image illustrates, in sticky burrs, leaving only the shoes, hands and two eye holes exposed. On the day, h... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival

    The Edinburgh Festival is a collective term for various simultaneous arts and cultural festivals which take place during August and early September each year in Edinburgh. These festivals are arranged by a number of formally unrelated organisations, meaning that there is no single event officially termed the Edinburgh Festival. The oldest festivals are the Edinburgh International Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, both of which started in 1947. Other more recent additions include the Military Tat... Read More

  • Edinburgh Festival Fringe

    Since it started in 1947, as an alternative to the Edinburgh International Festival, 'The Fringe' has grown to become the world's largest arts festival. The festival covers a wide range of arts, including theatre, comedy, dance, physical theatre. opera and others. The Fringe runs for approximately three weeks in August.... Read More

  • Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival

    Since it started in 1978, the Edinburgh Jazz and Blues Festival has become a major fixture of the city's summer season, attracting the largest audience of any jazz festival in the UK. There are now over 100 concerts during the festival, covering a wide range of jazz and blues forms. ... Read More

  • Edinburgh Mela

    Mela is a sanskrit word meaning ‘gathering’ and is used to describe festivals in the Indian subcontinent.The Scottish Mela festivals are multicultural arts festivals that, while having their roots in South Asian culture, can now best be seen as celebrating wide diversity of cultural life in Scotland, featuring dance, music, crafts, food and fashion, not just from South Asia, but from all over the world. There are two annual Mela festivals in Scotland: one in Glasgow and one in Edinburgh. Edinburgh Me... Read More

  • Ferry Fair Edinburgh

    As the fair's website states, Queensferry’s annual Fair has been held in its present form since 1930, when it was revived after some years of absence as a regular event. But its roots date back even further for permission to hold the event was originally granted by King Charles 1 back in the year 1687. The Fair is a week-long event and is organised primarily as a festival of sports and entertainments for the children of the burgh, culminating in the crowning of a Ferry Fair Queen who is chosen from the ch... Read More

  • Heart of Midlothian

    The Heart of Midlothian is a stone mosaic built into the cobbled street outside of St Giles near George IV Bridge marks the spot where the old Tolbooth, or town prison used to stand. Some local people continue the tradition of spitting on the Heart when walking past for good luck. See video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=32H9WORvpj0 ... Read More

  • May Day Face Washing, Arthur's Seat

    Some people still get up early enough on May Day (1st of May) to climb Arthur's Seat - the extinct volcano at the centre of Hoyrood Park, Edinburgh - to wash their faces in the morning dew as the sun rises. It was believed that this would bring females eternal beauty.... Read More

  • New Year - coastal/sea

    In coastal areas, both boats in harbour and tankers offshore sound their horns at midnight to mark the start of the New Year on 31st December. This is also marked by the ringing of church bells (such as those of the Tron Kirk in Edinburgh's High Street or Royal Mile) onland. ... Read More

  • Poor-oot

    The ‘poor-oot’ (pour out) or ‘scramble’ is a tradition related to weddings. As newlyweds drive off from the church after their wedding ceremony the groom (or new husband) throws handfuls of coins out of the car window. Children then ‘scramble’ in the street to grab the scattered money. Presumably this originally symbolised the new husband sharing his ‘good fortune’ and demonstrating his happiness. The practice has different names in different parts of the country. The term ‘Poor-oot’ is ... Read More

  • Samhuinn

    Samhuinn was an ancient Gaelic harvest festival, marking the arrival of winter. An annual event on Edinburgh's Royal Mile reimagines and celebrates what was a highly significant event in the ancient Celtic calendar. An important element of Samhuinn was the belief that this time of the year was a liminal zone where the barrier between the lands of the dead and living was less distinct than during the rest of the year.... Read More

  • Scots Fiddle Festival

    The festival, which takes place over a November weekend (Friday to Sunday) in the Assembly Roooms, Edinburgh, is run by the Scots Fiddle Festival Ltd, with the aim of promoting and sustaining traditional fiddle music. It features a variety of concerts, recitals and workshops. ... Read More

  • The Meadows Mummers; tradition with a difference.

    Among the practitioners in this field are The Meadows Mummers. This Edinburgh-based all-female group have taken the traditional folk drama “Galoshins” (in all its various spellings) and updated it with a modernised and expanded script, written in rhyming couplets, while still respecting its traditional form and Commedia dell'Arte roots. It was associated with Hogmanay, but the Mummers largely perform at community festivals in the summer, so performances are open-air. Through collaborations with the... Read More

  • Tradfest

    Each year Edinburgh is home to Tradfest TradFest celebrates Scotland’s May festivals – Beltane and Mayday – which traditionally mark the beginning of summer, bringing energy and colour to the capital city as the greening of the year breaks out. Venues include Calton Hill, the Royal Mile, The Pleasance, the Scottish Storytelling Centre, Filmhouse, Queens Hall, Summerhall, George Square Theatre and Dance Base. The TradFest Trail highlights craft shops, galleries, pub sessions, instrument makers, book... Read More

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