Light Night was different today from previous years. Everything took place on the Royal Mile and Santa arrived to switch on the lights.

Then he left on his sleigh on his way back to Lapland to make more gifts for girls and boys.

Edinburgh Christmas Night Light. Photo: Martin P. McAdam
Edinburgh Christmas Night Light. Photo: Martin P. McAdam

Performers on the stage today included :

  • The Community Choir of An Edinburgh Christmas Carol at The Lyceum, a community choir of Edinburgh residents who will be singing carols and increasing the festive cheer at Light Night and then, from 28 November, also during a family-friendly Christmas production of An Edinburgh Christmas Carol at the Royal Lyceum Edinburgh Theatre, adapted and directed by Tony Cownie from the novel by Charles Dickens.
  • Little Voices, Big Stars, a singing group founded over 6 years ago which now boosts around 200 singers from Midlothian and Edinburgh. With regular group and solo performance opportunities, the young singers gain strength, courage and confidence, helping them through different parts of their lives.
  • Intercultural Youth Scotland, a youth-led organisation which comes together to fight inequality, racism, discrimination and underachievement in Scotland. During Light Night, the IYS will showcase the diverse talent from the IYS Dance and Music/Spoken word sessions.
  • Rock Choir Live which exists across the UK and together makes up the world’s largest, contemporary choir. Members from across Scotland come together for Light Night to sing some uplifting, feel-good numbers.
  • An ensemble from Lion King, set against the majesty of the Serengeti Plains and to the evocative rhythms of Africa, this Disney’s multi award-winning musical is one of the most successful shows ever to be made. It takes over Edinburgh Playhouse from 8 December and Light Night will see a special performance of three songs from the show, Circle of Life, Can You Fell the Love Tonight and He Lives in You.
  • Ama-zing Harmonies, a community-focused singing group in North West Edinburgh that brings together people of all ages and backgrounds through music and dance. The group recognises singing is a fantastic way to spread happiness, improve and promote health and well-being, alleviates stress, and creates a sense of community to enhance wellbeing and unite people.

This event was free and the charity collections being made on the day were for the OneCity Trust the Lord Provost’s Charity. OneCity Trust is Edinburgh’s Christmas official charity partner. Through initiating and funding various projects in Edinburgh, the Trust aims to fight social exclusion in the Scottish capital. Only last year, 50p per ticket donations for each Silent Light and Edinburgh’s Hogmanay’s Torchlight Procession raised a total of almost £30,000 for OneCity Trust.

Ed Bartlam and Charlie Wood, Directors of Underbelly who produce Edinburgh’s Christmas said: “We are very excited to be launching the seventh season of the ever-popular Edinburgh’s Christmas celebrations with a free, family-friendly Light Night spectacular showcasing Edinburgh’s community spirit. Taking place for the first time on Royal Mile, the afternoon will see some of Edinburgh’s best community groups presenting their talents with Santa himself making a special, ‘flying’ appearance.

“Edinburgh’s Christmas continues to prove to be loved by the locals with one-third of all visitors coming from this city and nearby. We hope Edinburgh’s Christmas will bring enormous joy to many and this year promises to be another festive spectacular and we hope to see you all on the Royal Mile this Sunday to kick it off!”

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross, is Patron of the OneCity Trust. He said: “Light Night brings Edinburgh together like no other event can. It’s a completely free, community-focused celebration people from all corners of the Capital take part in. This year, it’s also helping to raise money for the OneCity Trust. By providing grants to local organisations like Ama-zing Harmonies, who will showcase their skills on the night, the OneCity Trust works year-round to fight inequality and exclusion in Edinburgh. Join us on the Royal Mile for this feel-good start to the festive season and see Santa himself switch-on Edinburgh’s Christmas lights.”

Ama from Ama-zing Harmonies said ahead of the performance today : “Ama-zing Harmonies aims to bring communities together through the shared love of music. We believe through music we can bring back community spirit, integrate and celebrate our diversity.

We welcome people of all ages and backgrounds to the choir, no singing ability required!

“The group started 2 years ago, we got support from City of Edinburgh Council to train our young people with musical instruments skills, and very recently we got support from OneCity Trust to do a Transition to Confidence project to support our young people with gaining confidence.

“We are very excited to be strengthening the link with the Trust and performing at Edinburgh’s Christmas’ Light Night, the official start of the capital’s Christmas celebrations. It promises to be a very special event and we hope to see you there!”.

And meanwhile in East Princes Street Gardens the entertainment began yesterday. Underbelly told us that 100,000 people visited on the first day.

Edinburgh Christmas Night Light. Photo: Martin P. McAdam