Imbolc is celebrated on February the 1st and marks the half way point between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. It marks the withdrawing of the long nights and looks forward to the promise of the spring to come.
The Marsden Imbolc Festival
Celebrated on the Saturday nearest to February 1st the Marsden Imbolc festival features an amazing torch lit procession, theatrical performances, fire sculptures and fire circus skills all to a backdrop of a spectacular firework display.
In the weeks before the festival the village is a busy place with community sessions every weekend, where attendees can make their own lanterns and costumes and even learn fire circus skills.
On the night of the festival a torch lit procession starts at 7pm from the old goods yard in the village. The towpath of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal is lit by lanterns and up to two thousand people join the procession, many bringing their own handmade lanterns. The procession is led by drummers and everyone makes their way to the grounds of the Standedge Experience at Tunnel End.
Here fire jugglers perform, and Jack Frost battles with the green man of spring. The whole crowd holds their breath hoping that the green man of spring will be victorious so that the snows of winter will soon be receding to make way for the green shoots of spring.
The whole evening is finished with the lighting of spectacular fire sculptures and a fireworks display.
The Village of Marsden
High up in the Pennine Hills of Yorkshire the village of Marsden is a no nonsense Pennine mill town surrounded by beautiful National Trust moorland.
In the village centre there are three restaurants: Mozerellas serves mainly Italian style food whilst the Riverhead micro brewery and the New Inn both specialise in more traditional fare.
The village centre also has three cafes, Chinese, curry and fish and chip takeaways, a health food shop and plenty of pubs.
Other annual festivals held in Marsden are the cuckoo festival in Spring and a jazz festival in October.
How to get to the Marsden Imbolc Festival
The village of Marsden is in the Pennine Hills of West Yorkshire. The A62 links Marsden with Huddersfield and Saddleworth in Greater Manchester. There is plenty of free on-street parking around the village.
Marsden has a train station. Generally trains stopping in Marsden run every hour from both Huddersfield and Manchester.
Where to Stay when Visiting the Marsden Imbolc Festival
There are three establishments in Marsden who provide visitor accommodation. The Tunnel End Inn is the closest to the show of the Marsden Imbolc festival as it is situated just meters from the Standedge Experience. The Hey Green Country House Hotel is a further five minute walk away, whilst the New Inn, on the main road through the village, is centrally located and convenient for the village ammenities.
Accommodation is also available in nearby Huddersfield or Meltham.