HUNDREDS of people lined the streets last night as Roman soldiers took over Chester once again.
Roman legion lights of the Deva Vitrix made their way through the city streets to celebrate the traditional Roman event of Saturnalia – a time of celebration and gift-giving.
Organised by Roman Tours Ltd in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council (CWaC), the parade began on St John Street at 6.45pm before heading onto Eastgate Street, Northgate Street, Town Hall Square, St Werburgh Street, Eastgate Street and The Cross before finishing on Bridge Street.
When the parade reached Eastgate Street, crowds were delighted as torches were lit and the Emperor made his proclamation before releasing the Lord of Misrule.
Cllr Stuart Parker, CWaC executive member for culture and economy, said: “Saturnalia was the feast in which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of the god Saturn and was originally celebrated in Ancient Rome for one day.
“The parade is always a firm favourite with children, residents and late night shoppers who enjoy Chester stepping back in time to Roman occupation.”
Prior to the parade, a lantern-making class was held at the Grosvenor Museum, with people following the parade with their own hand-made lanterns around the city.
The event was part of the wider ‘Christmas in Chester’ celebrations, which also includes the new look Christmas market, Winter Wonderland at Chester Racecourse, Lantern Magic at Chester Zoo and the Snow Queen at St Mary’s Centre.