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You are in: Leicester > Faith > Features > Diwali in Leicester 2008

Leicester's Diwali Lights Switch On 2007

Diwali in Leicester 2008

Leicester's Diwali celebrations are the largest in the world outside of India, and about 60,000 people attended the switch-on of the lights this year. But how will the festivities and the traditional exchange of gold be affected by the credit crunch?

The word Diwali is an abbreviation of Deepavali, which means cluster of lamps.

It is a celebration of good over evil, and is, of course, the Hindu festival of light.

Leicester's Diwali celebrations are the second largest in the world, and around 60,000 people attended the switch-on of the lights on Belgrave Road on Sunday 12 October 2008.

Listen: Diwali - facts you might not know

BBC Leicester's Peter Warzynski gives a rundown of some facts that you might not know about the Hindu festival of light...

Diwali switch-on

This is the 25th year that Diwali lights and decorations have been erected in Leicester, and over 6,500 lamps will be used.

Over 3,000 feet of lights will adorn Belgrave Road, and they'll start from Belgrave flyover and reach all the way to Checketts Road.

The lights were switched on by the Lord Mayor of Leicester, Councillor Manjula Sood, on Sunday at 19:30, although entertainment began at 18:00 and the firework display at Cossington Park finished around 20:30.

Belgrave Road was shut from 17:30-21:30 on Sunday for the Diwali switch-on, and the Belgrave flyover was shut from 11:00-21:30.

Listen: Diwali and the credit crunch

But how is the credit crunch affecting Leicester's Diwali celebrations? Peter Warzynski went to find out...

According to people on Belgrave Road, there's been a big difference this year. One man said the festivities have been diminished:

"So many people aren't celebrating it as much as they would normally, just obviously they don't want to spend as much money now."

"People used to buy a lot of gold and stuff just before Diwali, but gold price are high so I think people will be a bit careful..."

A woman from the Belgrave area in Leicester

A woman agreed, and said that the traditional exchange of presents has changed:

"People used to buy a lot of gold and stuff just before Diwali, but gold price are high so I think people will be a bit careful, they'll probably just give money."

So how is this change affecting shop keepers in the area? This trader said that business has suffered significantly:

"We noticed the recession about eight months ago actually, this year I think our trade's down about at least 50%, I'd say.

"We sell a lot of gold... people, I don't know what they're giving, but they're certainly not giving gold."

last updated: 14/10/2008 at 11:03
created: 10/10/2008

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