Tens of thousands of people counted down as Leicester's Diwali lights were switched on, on Belgrave Road.
Communities gathered on the Golden Mile on Sunday to celebrate the Hindu festival with music, singing, dancing and a firework and laser display.
Leicester's celebrations of the festival of light are thought to be the largest outside India.
Diwali day, on 26 October, marks the end of one year and the Hindu New Year will be celebrated the following day.
Leicester's Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby told the crowd his thoughts on the festival of light.
"Diwali comes at a dark time of year, it comes as we move into winter and it celebrates the triumph of light over that darkness and that's the message for all of our communities here in Leicester," he said.
Road closures and parking restrictions were put in place around Belgrave Road for the duration of the event.
Diwali is celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs.