Diwali celebrations light up UK

Diwali celebrations light up UK: Thousands mark religious festival with huge crowds returning to streets of Leicester after event was cancelled last year due to pandemic

Thousands of Hindus, Sikhs and Jains in the UK have been celebrating Diwali this week after the five-day Festival of Lights was cancelled last year due to Covid.

Crowds gathered in Leicester’s Golden Mile and Canary Wharf’s Jubilee Park last night to mark Diwali, which honours Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, and celebrates the triumph of light over dark – representing good over evil.   

The name of the festival, which takes place from November 2 to November 6 this year, is derived from the Sanskrit word deepavali, meaning ‘rows of lighted lamps’. 

Houses, shops and public places are traditionally decorated with small oil lamps called diyas, and a firework display usually takes place. However, this year authorities in Leicester replaced the annual firework show with a fire garden and laser light show to reduce crowds.  

Large screens along Belgrave Road in Leicester, which is said to be hosting the biggest celebrations for the festival outside of India, showed a pre-recorded programme which replaced the usual stage show.

And council officials even asked those who gathered on Belgrave Road yesterday to wear facemasks and take Covid tests before arriving, and to stay at home if they felt unwell – even if their results came back negative, and even if they were fully vaccinated.

Dharmesh Lakhani, owner of Bobby’s restaurant on Belgrave Road, told the BBC he was ‘grateful’ the venue was full with customers once more. 

He added: ‘It’s been two years since this happened here so it’s been really, really brilliant. It’s nice to see so many people out and about again.’ 

Ivan Browne, director of public health for Leicester, said: ‘Visiting friends and families in their homes is a traditional part of Diwali Day, but please remember that the virus thrives indoors. If you are inviting people into your home, keep the windows open and encourage visitors to wear a face covering – even if everyone is fully vaccinated.’

A performer dressed as an elephant on the golden mile in Leicester at the start of Diwali

Crowds gathered in Leicester’s Golden Mile last night to mark Diwali, which honours Lakshmi, goddess of wealth and prosperity, and celebrates the triumph of light over dark – representing good over evil

People on the Golden Mile in Leicester at the start of Diwali, a five day festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs

However, this year authorities in Leicester replaced the annual firework show with a fire garden and laser light show to reduce crowds

A performer on the Golden Mile in Leicester at the start of the five-day festival

A vendor selling lights on the Golden Mile in Leicester at the start of Diwali



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A performer in Leicester at the start of Diwali, a five day festival of lights

A performer on the Golden Mile in Leicester at the start of Diwali

People cheer in Leicester at the start of Diwali, a five day festival of lights and one of the major festivals celebrated by Hindus, Jains and Sikhs

A fire garden in Leicester with rainbow lights projected overhead at the start of Diwali

Houses, shops and public places are traditionally decorated with small oil lamps called diyas, and a firework display usually takes place

A performer greets a family in Leicester at the start of Diwali

A performer shakes hands with a child on the Golden Mile in Leicester at the start of Diwali

Children enjoy fairground rides in Leicester at the start of Diwali

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