Celebrations are underway in Leicester tonight for the Diwali "Festival of Light".
Thousands of people are expected to attend the celebrations tonight on the Belgrave Road.
The Midlands is gearing up for one of it's biggest celebrations of the year. It's Diwali, and tens of thousands of people are heading into Leicester tonight for what's widely regarded as the largest celebration outside of India.
It's not only an important time for families, it's also vital for the economy. Leicester's Golden Mile has suffered in recent years, and Diwali is the busiest time of year for many shops and businesses.
Wishing all those who are celebrating a Diwali full of joy and a New Year blessed with prosperity and good health. http://t.co/6spdWuTd
A busy Belgrave Road before it's closed at 6pm for tonight's Diwali celebrations.
Many groups of families and friends have already descended upon the Golden Mile.
People in Leicester are preparing for tonight's Diwali celebrations.
It's one of the biggest celebrations outside of India and attracts thousands of people every year.
Thousands of people in the Midlands will take to the streets tonight to celebrate Diwali with some local businesses calling it the most important financial period of their year.
Leicester's Golden Mile is hosting the biggest Diwali celebrations in the world outside of India.
Companies say that in these tough economic times the festival is critical for their businesses.
Dharmesh Lakhani from the Belgrave Business Association says "it's more vital that we do good business throughout Diwali, so that we'll be fine for the next year."
The Diwali celebrations taking place in Leicester are the biggest in the world outside of India.
These pictures show women at a Hindu Temple in Leicester. They are creating rangoli which is Indian folk art, as part of the celebrations.
Today is Diwali, also known as the festival of light is a religious festival at the end of October or beginning of November.
It is celebrated by Sikhs, Hindus and Jains, and is as big to those religions as Christmas is to Christians.
Facts about Diwali:
- Diwali translated means 'row of lights'.
- Diwali celebrates good triumphing over evil.
- For many it is the mark of a new year.
- Many Hindus take the opportunity of Diwali to honour the goddess of wealth Lakshmi.
- People mark the religious festival by lighting clay lamps, it is believed the more lamps people light the more likely the goddess of fortune and prosperity, Lakshmi will visit.
- Leicester hosts the biggest Diwali celebrations outside of India.
- Many people draw colourful rangoli, a decorative pattern made in rice flour, at the entrance of the home.
- Celebrations include sharing food, watching fireworks, worshiping and rangoli also known as Kolam which is a folk art from India.