Horror Brought To Life: Edinburgh’s Samhuinn Fire Festival

The Horror Hothouse

Forget about Halloween trick or treating, Edinburgh’s Samhuinn Fire Festival is the real deal. Come half past eight on All Hallows’ Eve we had secured our spot on the steps of St Giles Cathedral overlooking the stage on Parliament Square. Praying that the rain would hold off, the air was heady with excitement and the smell of lighter fuel as over 6000 people jostled for the best position.

Then, as the hour struck, we heard the faint rumble of drums as the twin columns of drummers, dancers and acrobats set out from Castle Hill above us and the Tron below. The pulsating rhythm of the massed raven masked drummers grew ever louder as the processions approached the square. Dancers, some in elaborate costumes and controlling puppets and others, despite the raw Edinburgh night, wearing little more than red or blue body paint, cavorted before the crowds lining the Royal Mile…

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