Diwali 2022: Leicester's famous annual light switch-on and firework display returns

Rajiv Popat reports live from Leicester's Diwali Festival.

Leicester's famous Diwali festival lights switch-on will return to the Golden Mile next month on Sunday 9 October.

The switch-on will mark the first day of celebrations and features a Wheel of Light, a Diwali Village and firework display.

Leicester's celebration is one of the biggest outside of India and is famous for its colourful lights, dancing, fireworks, food and large crowds.

The light switch-on attracts up to 40,000 people from across the country every year and is the first event in the festival's calendar.

What is happening at the Diwali lights switch-on?

  • 3pm - Diwali Village opens

  • 4pm - Annual Mela Rangoli art exhibition opens at Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre

  • 5.30pm - Stage entertainment starts on Belgrave Road

  • 6.15pm and 7.15pm - Giant puppet show

  • 7.30pm - Leicester's famous Diwali lights switch-on and firework display

  • 9pm - Diwali Village closes

The big wheel will once again be in the centre of the celebrations on Belgrave Road from Friday 7 October - Sunday 6 November.

At least 6,000 colourful lamps will be lit at the light switch-on followed by a firework display, where the best view will be from Belgrave Road.

The event marks the start of Diwali, which will run through until Diwali Day on 26 October.

Leicester's famous Diwali festival lights switch-on will return to the Golden Mile next month on Sunday 9 October Credit: ITV News Central

The Diwali Village opens at 3pm on Sunday 9 October on Cossington Street recreation ground and will have food stalls as well as music and dancing performances.

A two metre-tall fire installation called The Fire Head, will also light up the village and a trio of fire performers perform shows at 6.30pm and 8.30pm.

Diwali is an ancient festival celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world and known as the Festival of Lights because of its traditional lighting of lamps and candles.

Leicester's deputy city mayor for culture, leisure and sport, Cllr Piara Singh Clair, said: "Our world-famous Diwali festival is a Leicester tradition that brings our communities together to celebrate the Festival of Light.

"I am delighted that the event is back for 2022 and would like to invite everyone to the Golden Mile in October to enjoy the magic of one of the largest Diwali celebrations outside of India."

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, who is supporting this year's festival, said: "The Diwali festival shines a light for Leicester as a beacon to celebrate all that this wonderful city has to offer."

"In bringing people together, this vibrant festival rejoices in our diversity and provides a platform to look to the future with hope.

"Diwali was my first, and memorable, introduction to Leicester and it created a lasting impression.

"The University is proud to support the celebrations."