In pictures: Beltane Fire Festival 2013

Emma Sleight
In pictures: Beltane Fire Festival 2013
In pictures: Beltane Fire Festival 2013

The annual Beltane Fire Festival set Edinburgh alight with flame-wielding demons, semi-nude fire sprites and red-painted ghouls on the night of 30 April.

The 2013 Beltane Fire Festival saw hundreds flock to Calton Hill in Edinburgh to celebrate the coming of summer on the first day of May.

The modern version, run by the Beltane Fire Society, began in 1988 and was inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane.

According to their website, the festival starts with a procession, led by the May Queen and the Green Man, from the National Monument (know to Beltaners as the Acropolis), which proceeds anti-clockwise around the path, meeting various groups along the way.

The procession is driven by the beat of drums which urge it towards summer and their journey is punctuated by various groups who either help or hinder their progress towards the Green Man's fate and the May Queen's destiny.

After a dramatic stage performance signifying the inception of summer, the May Queen and Green Man spark the birth of summer by lighting a huge bonfire, which is followed by feasting and dancing.

See the incredible pictures below.