Diwali in pictures: Thousands across UK mark first 'festival of light' since pandemic began

ITV News Correspondent Ben Chapman enjoyed the Diwali celebrations in Leicester which are some of the biggest outside of India

Thousands of Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and some Buddhists across the UK have been celebrating Diwali, a festival which signifies peace and joy as well as the victory of good over evil.

This year, the 'festival of lights' has added poignancy as it's the first time large Diwali celebrations have been permitted since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, with family and friends remembering those they have lost since.

During the day, people queued to buy Indian sweets and snacks in Leicester, a city that hosts one of the biggest Diwali celebrations outside India.

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

ITV News' Ben Chapman heard from Sanjiv Patel, who marked Diwali with his mother, wife and two children in Leicester.

People cheer in Leicester at the start of Diwali. Credit: PA

While celebrating, they paid tribute to Anand, Sanjiv's father, who died from Covid last year.

Meanwhile, in London, a floating flower display lit up Jubilee Park in Canary Wharf.

Credit: Richard Bragg Floral Design/Facebook

Fireworks are also a mainstay of the festival. Explosions could be heard across the country, including in Slough.

Temples welcomed worshippers back for Diwali after having to limit celebrations last year due to Covid.

Twitter user Ajai Ahluwalia shared a picture from inside a temple in Glasgow, while Willesden Temple in north west London was decked from top to bottom in coloured lights.

Liverpool Town Hall was also lit up and those nearby were treated to a display of traditional dancing and drumming.

In the capital of Wales, fireworks lit the sky over the city centre near the Principality Stadium.