SINCE the dawn of time, people have gravitated toward fire and light, especially during the dark days of winter when luminous celebrations set gloomy nights aglow and remind us that the dark mornings and short spells of daylight are only temporary and spring isn’t too far away.

Our antecedents waged wars against winter with bonfires, candles and torches of fire in rituals which can still be seen replayed on Bonfire night, Hogmanay, Christmas and scores of winter celebrations around the world which seek to ward off the gloom.

Durham’s Lumiere festival is a relative newcomer on the scene. It started in 2009 and opens this evening for its fifth showing, but it too taps into that deep-rooted, primal urge to fireup the dark skies.

Whether you are going to Lumiere for the first time or are a seasoned hand you are in for a treat.

For those of you who are unable to attend then over the next few days we will be featuring the best of Lumiere with reports, picture spreads and online video as Durham is lit up with 29 artworks and installations by artists from around the world on each night.

Anyone thinking of heading along has been advised to wear warm clothes and waterproofs, use park and ride or public transport, and remember that access with buggies is likely to be difficult.

In previous years there have been problems with the city’s tight winding lanes and bridges struggling to accommodate the crowds but eight years on from its debut event organisers are confident that safe and orderly proceedings await everyone who is drawn towards the UK’s largest festival of light.