The Green Man plays a starring role in Edinburgh’s Beltane Fire Festival with his death and return to life vital “for life on our planet to continue”.
Wanted: one Green Man. No, not that kind... Scottish Green Party members aren’t being specifically sought and it’s nothing to do with crossing the road or even any supposed inhabitants of Mars.
We’re talking about the Green Man of ancient legend, whose face can still be seen carved on old buildings and who is more than a little bit spooky. For the Beltane Fire Festival is looking for someone to play this starring role in their “dynamic reinterpretation ... of an ancient Iron Age Celtic ritual” on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill. At a time when other festivals have been facing complaints about over-tourism, Beltane seems to be one that few dare to criticise. Who, after all, would risk the wrath of the May Queen, particularly when she’s in her “destructive crone phase”.
Green Man applicants should perhaps know it is at this point in her life that their character is killed for “transgressing his boundaries”. But there’s a happy ending as she later realises he “needs to be brought back to life for life on our planet to continue”. When ‘tourist attractions’ are this much fun, why would anyone complain?