On Saturday 3rd of February I had the chance to attend the first edition of "Festival of Returning Light" in Port Erin. The new annual event aims to celebrate the beginning of Spring and St Bridget's Day.
The event organized by Port Erin Commissioners started at 6:30 pm next to the Railway Station. However, the participants of which some were as young as the age of early kindergarten started preparing for the event long before the evening parade. In order to get ready for the parade the local citizens prepared willow lanterns and crosses from reeds in order to worship St Bridget.
Before the official beginning of the parade people dressed in traditional Manx costumes danced spontaneously on the square opposite the starting point of the parade. It was magnificent to see people of all ages gathering and celebrating together as one unit. The parade started with a short speech explaining the history of St Bridget and her significance to the Island.
After the speech the march has officially started and headed from the Railway Station to the beach. The drummers headed the march and many people with the earlier mentioned willow lanterns and crosses followed. People who closed the march held fire torches. Once the crowed arrived to the beach piles of wood situated on the beach were put on fire with the help of fire torches. Soon after a wonderful show of fire display started which lasted for about an hour and was so amazing that the crowd stayed for the whole show regardless of cold weather.
The evening ended in a very friendly manner with Manx folk music concert on the street of Port Erin. Not only was Manx music played but as a friendly gesture a Polish song was sang with greetings "to all Eastern European friends".
I enjoyed the night very much. It was interesting to learn about Manx culture and discover the beautiful city of Port Erin as well as meet their very friendly Commissioner Mr. Roberts. From what I heard next year's edition will be even bigger so I am looking forward to joining the parade next year again.
Bogdan Oworuszko (L6)