Leicester prepare to begin Diwali celebrations

By Ben Clarke

Leicester is set to celebrate the Hindu festival of lights in even more spectacular fashion than usual with the inclusion of a giant wheel of light.

The new addition is on Belgrave Road and opened on October 17 with tickets going for £5 for adults and £4 for concession.

The wheel is set to stay open on in Leicester until November 15 and is the first time it has been open in the city.

Diwali celebrations in Leicester are the largest outside India with 35,000 people attending the turning on of the lights on Belgrave Road.

Mayur from Shree Hindu Temple said: “Leicester has a big Hindu community; Hindu’s have been here a long time since 1970’s.

“The actual celebrations have remained traditional despite the new wheel, as it is still seen as a chance for new businesses.”

The lights are set to be switched on this Sunday 1 until Wednesday 11 November on Cossington Street recreation ground and Belgrave Road where the wheel will be based.

There are also lights throughout the city centre that will be lit as part of the five day Diwali celebration.

There will also be firework display with cultural entertainment this Sunday and people are encouraged to take transport in due to limited spaces.

Mayur added: “The festival brings happiness and gives people the chance to open new books (accounts) as in India everything in business is in books.

“It is like a new start and encourages people to do this and people open new books.”

The festival of light is seen as a chance to start a fresh and brings a new optimism to the Hindu community, as it marks the New Year in Hinduism, which was traditionally greeted with new businesses opening or farming and harvesting to take place, back in India.

Diwali is the major celebration of what is thought to be the oldest religion in the world, that is has firm beliefs in a fresh start and luck which is why it is tradition to spring clean and gamble around the festival period.

Although the fifth day is Diwali day the main celebration will be taking place on the third day (November 9).

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