Posted by: ramblinrobert | May 2, 2008

Beltane…and home

Wednesday began with rain, gave sunshine most of the day, then ended with a late rain about 11 pm. I know because I was on Calton Hill celebrating Beltane with thousands of others. I arrived early and enjoyed a beautiful sunset over the City of Edinburgh to the west. The castle was silhouetted against a pink and blue sky and the city lights slowly came to light. To the north the Firth of Forth was visible; to the east the North Sea, miles to the west the Forth Bridge.

I met a pair of young women who had come for Beltane from Glasgow. They are law students at University of Glasgow, one from Denmark the other from the Netherlands. We had a long discussion about law, politics, agriculture and more. I said goodbye as the celebration began, knowing we would be lost in the growing crowd.

Fire plays an important role in the Beltane ceremonies. The festivities started with two huddled men bending over firemaking tools. Finally, they generated a spark, transferred a small flame to a torch and, after a minute or more of swinging the torch in a circle, it sprang to life. The fire was passed from torch to torch and the we were on our way. There were numerous stages to the main celebration, but as time went on, there were smaller groups and individuals performing all over the hillside. It was a lively (to put it mildly) celebration. I must admit that I have sympathy for the old Celtic holidays that follow the natural cycle of the seasons and celebrate nature.

Well, it’s time to leave Edinburgh and head home. I’m on my way to the bus station to head back to Glasgow, then I fly home early tomorrow morning. I may not write any more from Scotland, but it doesn’t stop here. I’ll continue to post some observations (including about food and beverages) once I get home. I’ll also make at least one more posting of my adventures, a serendipitous discovery of an allotment garden and meeting several gardeners here in Edinburgh yesterday. I’ll also figure out how to get photos uploaded and add those to the blog. So, don’t go away!

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