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The Wicker Man

By pamelajean
(I hope you think this can be included in my sculpture/statues series).

The ancient festival of Beltane is revived and celebrated annually at the reconstructed Iron-Age village of Butser in Hampshire (they spell it Beltain there).
Beltane is associated with Bel, god of light, fire and the sun and is a fertility rite linked to the turning of the year to ensure a fruitful harvest (Saturday nearest May Eve - May Eve is the night of 30th April into morning of 1st May).

Butser Ancient Farm is a unique experimental archaeology site nestled in the rolling countryside of the South Downs National Park.

A huge wicker man is constructed and he is burned at sunset following the Celtic tradition ¬– luckily the organisers are peace-loving folk so no people are sacrificed inside, although they are allowed to climb the ladder and enter the cage.

3 images:
1. the wicker man statue
2. a visitor locked inside the cage
3. the burning

I appreciate your interest and response to my previous sculpture shot of the Spanish Band.


Tags: Photo journalism Hampshire England Beltane Festival Butser Ancient Farm 4 miles south of Petersfield Burning at sundown Iron-Age village Celtic tradition Cage inside the statue fertility rite Fruitful harvest

Voters: RLF, mrswoolybill, Chinga and 49 more

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes


RLF Plus
11 18 4 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2021 6:08PM
I saw the original with Edward WoodwardWink
I didnít expect him to dieSad
JohnDyer Plus
15 80 2 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2021 6:19PM
I take it they let the visitor out?

J Grin
Chinga Plus
11 3 2 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2021 6:19PM
Amazing tradition... Excellent shots !!
Isabel GrinGrinGrin
jacomes Plus
6 30 42 Portugal
20 Oct 2021 6:25PM
Excellent record of the tradition. I'm reminded not only of the film but also an episode of Midsomer Murders!
JuBarney Plus
10 34 5 United Kingdom
20 Oct 2021 6:52PM
A smashing set
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
20 Oct 2021 8:44PM
Wonderful to see the images and learn about this Celtic tradition!
Thank You!
taggart Plus
17 47 14 United States
20 Oct 2021 8:44PM
Award is for the images and your great reportage!
banehawi Plus
17 2.6k 4274 Canada
20 Oct 2021 10:35PM
I remember seeing the movie Wicker Man many years back, so very scary.

The Irish Gaelic word for the month of May is Bealthaine.

mac Plus
20 13 Scotland
20 Oct 2021 11:44PM
I remember watching the film back in 1973 starring Edward Woodward and Britt Ekland. The hero died in the end, which was not quite what you expected. Good set, Pamela, of the present day enactment.
There is a present day Beltane Festival held in Edinburgh on Calton Hill, every year. The modern Beltane Fire Festival is inspired by the ancient Gaelic festival of Beltane, which began on the evening before 1 May and marked the beginning of summer. No wicker man, but lots of dancing and fires.
dales Plus
5 13 Australia
21 Oct 2021 2:44AM
Now that is scary and brings back memories of the film , terrific set Pamela
LynneJoyce Plus
13 22 101 United Kingdom
21 Oct 2021 6:05AM
A fascinating set. Love V2.
chase Plus
16 2.3k 591 England
21 Oct 2021 12:32PM
I remember the film....................
bricurtis Plus
16 2.5k 51 England
21 Oct 2021 12:58PM
Good set - I like the cage shot - again very interesting info.
TrevBatWCC Plus
13 13 19 England
22 Oct 2021 1:48PM
Yes, the film of the same name as your title came immediately to mind! A great film, but a sad ending for Edward Woodward 😳 A fine capture of this piece of work, Pamela, and the inclusion of the chap inside shows us the scale of it 👍
Trev 😀
Mike_Smith Plus
14 833 2 United Kingdom
22 Oct 2021 7:56PM
Cracking set Pam I like them all. But wouldnít fancy been locked in the cage, especially if it was then set on fire lol
dudler Plus
18 1.7k 1884 England
23 Oct 2021 10:32AM
Fascinating shots, Pamela. It would be interesting to find out in detail about the festival as it actually was, without the horrific trappings of the film. (Actually, films. There was an inferior remake with Nicholas Cage a few years back. But without Edward Woodward's closely-controlled intensity, Christopher Lee's genial menace, and Britt Eklund's presence it couldn't hope to match the first film...)

Was the cage actually intended, ever, to house a sacrificial victim, or only - only?! - animals?
pamelajean Plus
15 1.6k 2238 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2021 7:24PM
Nicholas Cage is good name for an actor in this filmSmile, John, but I can't see it beating the original.
As for human sacrifice, Wikipedia says, "While other Roman writers of the time, such as Cicero, Suetonius, Lucan, Tacitus and Pliny the Elder, described human sacrifice among the Celts, only Caesar and the geographer Strabo mention the wicker man as one of many ways the Druids of Gaul performed sacrifices. Caesar reports that some of the Gauls built the effigies out of sticks and placed living men inside, then set them on fire to pay tribute to the gods. Caesar writes that though the Druids generally used those found guilty of crimes deserving death, as they pleased the gods more, they sometimes used slaves and thralls when no delinquents could be found".
More info about the ancient festival is HERE.
9 3 8 United Kingdom
24 Oct 2021 7:44PM
This image gives me the heebie jeebies! I found the end scene of that film very disturbing!Sad

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