Leicester

Diwali: Leicester lights switch-on attracts thousands

Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019 Image copyright Beth Walsh
Image caption Leicester was once again lit up by the Diwali lights switch-on event on Sunday evening

Tens of thousands of people joined Diwali celebrations - believed to be among the biggest outside of India - in Leicester.

The city's Golden Mile was illuminated with festive lights and fireworks were set off in celebration of the Festival of Light on Sunday.

Traditional dance and music was performed for the 20,000 spectators that joined the street party.

Activities will continue to take place in the city over the next two weeks in the build-up to Diwali on 27 October.

Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019 Image copyright Beth Walsh
Image caption The event marks the start of two weeks of festivities

Diwali is an ancient festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains across the world.

It represents the messages of good over evil, truth over falsehood and light shining in the dark of the year.

Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019 Image copyright Beth Walsh
Image caption The Wheel of Light, Diwali Village and a firework display all returned this year
Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019 Image copyright Beth Walsh
Image caption The number of people who attended is believed to be about 20,000, down from previous years

Spectators on Belgrave Road told BBC Radio Leicester the celebrations made them feel "very proud" to be from the city, which they call "little India".

One woman said: "We bring the children down so they can see the celebrations and learn about other cultures and where they come from."

Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019 Image copyright Beth Walsh
Image caption A weekend of wet weather was partially blamed for the lower turnout compared to previous years

The lights switch-on has attracted up to 40,000 people in previous years.

The city council has put the lower than usual attendance down to a weekend of wet weather and the school half-term.

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