Last night was Hallowe’en and everyone here in Edinburgh was getting in the spirit of the night by dressing up in crazy costumes.  Of course, I had to join in, didn’t I?  I decided to be an insanely busy (and slightly insane) postgrad student with an obsessive need to read all the books and know everything!  I think I pulled it off pretty well, didn’t I?

Others were equally creative.  Points to anyone who can accurately and specifically guess what costume Margaret wore.  No, don’t say Grim Reaper.  That’s wrong.  She’s a literary character from a series of books that everyone should read.

Everyone was lining up on the streets for the Samhuinn festival, a parade and pageant of fire and colors and somewhat confusing activity on stage with deep and thought provoking meanings.

And here we see a few of the members of the crowd, including a gnome, waiting for the show to begin.

The actual pageant would be down by St Giles’, but it started up at the castle, so we stood further up so we could get a better look at the parade itself before scurrying down to the pageant.

A cheery ladybug hugs Death for a charming picture.  On Samhuinn night, everyone gets together for the fun, including trendy insects and Death.

Below is a very colorful array of costumes and some very, very pointy teeth.  Not all vampires need be subtle, right?

At long last, the members of the parade began to assemble, starting with a few members of the winter court.  They were going the wrong way, heading up toward the beginning of the parade.  Maybe they were running late?

And then I saw V and the Joker.

The parade was a bit hard to catch on film.  Lots of flickering lights from torches, lots of police shoving the crowds away so that theaforementioned flickering lights from torches would not attach to any unfortunate members of the audience, and lots of members of the audience ignoring the aforementioned cops.

I don’t know who the blue women are.  All I know is that they remind me of Mystique from Xmen.  Maybe they are part of the summer court?  They carried green branches, which was the only clue.

The Summer King and his creepy entourage proceeded along, apparently resigned to the fact that they were about to lose yet another battle.  If at first you don’t succeed, I guess…

Dancing blue people with branches…

Minions of winter and minions of summer parade together.  Are they pretending to be friends until they get to the stage and await the outcome of the single combat?

A colorful leafy person thing…

White winter wolves.  They had glowy eyes.  They also seem to be powered by ninjas.

The light mist of rain become a deluge at that point so I had to take pictures more sparingly in order to preserve my camera from its demise.  I tucked it into my jacket until we got to the stage.

Fiery red people with drums begin the dancing of the pageant.

The Winter King celebrates his victory.  The rest of the pageant is basically him standing there waving at the crowd and gloating over his coming reign.  Everyone cheered.  Did they not realize what this means?  I swear I felt a chill wash over the city.  I don’t want winter!

Creepy giant puppet… I don’t know why he was there…

Fox puppet.  Pretty cool, I thought.

I liked this guy.  He was huge and actually had to be controlled by three separate people, each one holding up a part of him.  One person controlled the head with two people on either side managing the hands.  He sort of hovered over the proceedings like a big ghost.

A lion and some ravens.  Where there is winter and night time and Samhuinn, there the ravens will be, I suppose.  Don’t ask me what the giant red lion with the sun on his head meant.  I am refraining from suggesting any Aslan-related meaning because that would mean I missed yet another chance.

Dancing is thirsty work, apparently.  The winter minions pass around a cup of something warm.

The big creepy puppet kept showing up right over my head.  I was not a fan.  If he’d been any closer, he might have gotten himself punched.

And here we have the dead Summer King.  After he was vanquished, they carried him off to the side and lay him down and there he stayed for the rest of the pageant.  You could go right up to him and take pictures and he wouldn’t move a muscle.  I think he had the best job in the pageant, just lying still, though I imagine it got a little chilly, despite the torches.

We finally escaped once our chilly, wet fingers ceased cooperating entirely and the drum beats started getting a little old.  I have no idea how long the Winter King kept celebrating.  You’d think after so many years, he’d be over the whole “Yay me! I beat the Summer King again this year!  Like I do every year!” thing.  I guess not.

So Happy New Year, yay winter (lie!), and I guess I’ll be seeing these guys next year come May when the Summer King gets his turn again.

Oh, and check out me being more scholastic and thoughtful about the parade in my post on Lantern Hollow Press.