THE spectacular festival of fire returns for a 20th year.
Imbolc, the pagan festival which celebrates the end of winter, is back in Marsden tomorrow.
The event, which includes pyrotechnics, fire sculptures and performances, begins with a torchlight procession from The Old Goods Yard, next to Marsden railway station, at 7pm.
The procession, which the public is encouraged to join, will march to Standedge Tunnel Visitors’ Centre for a series of impressive fire displays.
The festival, which attracts thousands of visitors, is regarded as one of the area’s biggest annual attractions.
Imbolc committee chairwoman Angie Boycott-Garner said: “It’s definitely one of the highlights of the calendar in the area.
“We usually have a good local following but also people travel from all areas of the country. This year we’ve people coming from London.
“Different people like different things about it. Some people are practising pagans, some are fans of folklore but some just like the fireworks. There’s something for everyone.”
Imbolc (pronounced ‘im-olk’) celebrates the end of winter and the coming of spring.
Candle lighting and fire represent the increasing warmth of the sun as winter gives way to spring.
The name comes from an Irish word that was originally thought to mean ‘in the belly’.
Imbolc is one of the four principal festivals of the Irish calendar, celebrated either at the beginning of February or at the first local signs of spring.
Originally dedicated to the goddess Brighid, in the Christian period, it was adopted as St Brigid’s Day.