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Wicker Man burned to mark the start of spring

A huge 20-foot Wicker Man was burned in Fermanagh at the weekend by mummers marking the end of one of the coldest winters in years.

The spectacular mock sacrifice by Aughakillymaude Community Mummers symbolically returned the ashes of last year’s corn and straw to the same field near Derrylin where they were harvested — marking the Spring Equinox and ensuring a fertile season in 2010.

But happily, no-one was burned alive inside the terrifying effigy — unlike in the 1973 cult film The Wicker Man.

Spokesman Jim Ledwith said the burning of effigies on key calendar dates such as the turning of the seasons remains one of the oldest and most widespread forms of pagan worship and is still practiced in such forms as Guy Fawkes Day and the burning of Lundy in Londonderry.

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