Capital's Christmas begins with a bang

EDINBURGH's festive celebrations kicked off in spectacular style with the city's dazzling network of Christmas lights illuminated by gravity-defying aerial performers.

Suspended high above the Norwegian Christmas tree, French street theatre company Transe Express performed acrobatic stunts and beat out tribal rhythms on drums as a 40-metre high "human mobile".

Eight of the performers, dressed as 18th century revolutionaries in brightly coloured unifroms, beat a festive tattoo on drums as they marched up The Mound, before being hoisted above the heads of the 10,000-strong crowd who braved the chilly weather by a massive crane. The event marked the 25th anniversary of Edinburgh's festive links with Norway.

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Since 1985, Norway has provided the city's official Christmas tree in recognition of Scottish support during the Second World War.

The night's sky was then lit up by a brilliant fireworks display, heralding the start of Edinburgh's Christmas which officially runs until January 4.

The evening was concluded with a collaborative concert at St Giles' Cathedral with music from Edinburgh University chamber choir alongside Norwegian musicians.

Nickie Gott, managing director of She's Gott It!, which produces Edinburgh's Christmas, said: "It was a truly stunning evening and the crowd seemed to really enjoy themselves.

"Transe Express brought something completely different to Light Night.

"It certainly was a memorable event and it absolutely blew me away."

Lord Provost George Grubb said: "There aren't many cities that can match what Edinburgh has to offer over the festive period.

"Whether it's the atmosphere of the Christmas markets, or the glistening of the open air ice rink, the city comes to life and provides residents and visitors a memorable Christmas."