Leicester watches 'dazzling' Diwali celebrations

Premier League trophy at lights switch-on
Image caption Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was a special guest at the switch-on

About 30,000 people gathered in Leicester to watch the annual Diwali lights switch-on.

It's thought to be one of the biggest celebrations outside India and marks the start of two weeks of events across the city.

Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri was a special guest on the stage for the switch-on on Belgrave Road.

People lined the street to see the lights turned on at 19:30 BST and the following firework display.

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Media captionThousands gather for Diwali lights switch-on

Last year, a new "revamped" programme of Diwali events was introduced after the festival was was described as "stale bread".

Leicester City Council said the "world famous Diwali celebrations" would be more "spectacular and dazzling than ever", with a huge a firework display and a Diwali Village on Cossington Street Recreation Ground for the first time.

Image caption About 30,000 people lined Belgrave Road for the switch-on

Diwali day, which falls on 30 October this year, is one of the biggest festivals in the Indian calendar and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains.

Celebrations include the lighting of earthen lamps, bursting firecrackers and distribution of sweets.

Image caption There were dance shows and a parade in the city as part of the celebrations

Leicestershire Police's Supt Kerry Smith said: "We would like to wish everyone celebrating, a very happy and safe Diwali.

"We want you to enjoy the festivities and we are asking you to follow our celebrate safely crime prevention measures."

Dance performances, lights shows and food stalls will also form part of the celebrations.

Belgrave Road and its side streets will be fully closed from 17:00 to 21:30 BST and partial closures will be in force in other areas throughout the day.

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