The controversy of the past few weeks was put to one side last night as the city of Dundee came together to celebrate the Winter Night Light festival.
Lord Provost John Letford, Minister for Public Health and Sport Shona Robison and local church leaders led a torchlight procession into the City Square to mark the official start of Christmas festivities.
Local members of the Scouts, Boys Brigade Band, Sea Cadets and Girl Guide Scotland groups also joined in the procession, which was accompanied by the Mains of Fintry Pipe Band.
They carried decorative lanterns that had been hand-made by local artists and members of the public.
City Square visitors were treated to a sensory feast that included audiovisual displays and music against a backdrop of street art, performances and storytelling. Animations of famous Dundee characters, projections and lights illuminated the city as visitors moved around the square, the Wellgate, McManus Galleries and the Cultural Quarter.
The Christmas lights were then simultaneously switched on around the city, much to the delight of the thousands of people who had gathered for the event which concluded with a fireworks display.
Earlier this week, it was revealed church leaders had been invited to participate in the event following the personal intervention of Mr Letford.
The city council had been accused of banning Christmas after revelations that all references to Christianity, including the story of the Nativity, had been excluded from the festival.
Church leaders condemned the council for eroding the religious significance of Christmas. Mr Letford found himself in the firing line as representations were made to his office claiming the Christian faith had been betrayed and he was responsible.
He said the controversy had tarnished the reputation of the city when he announced the U-turn on Tuesday.
As part of last night’s festivities Dundee Women’s Trail linked with Dundee Dramatic Society to portray the city’s most famous daughters who are recognised on the Trail.
Among the women portrayed last night were Mariote Ker, the first female burgess of Dundee, Janet Keiller, the marmalade maker behind Dundee’s “jute, jam and journalism” fame and Bella Keyzer, the feisty World War II shipyard welder who took on gender stereotyping.
Zena Chan from the Dundee Dramatic Society said: “We chose these particular women for their diversity and their place in our past as inspirational role models. Plus, of course, it gives us a chance to use some of our fabulous costumes to make the most of this lovely festive event.”