Leicester’s Golden Mile lit up by 6,000 sparkling lamps for Diwali in annual switch on

  • The festival is one of the biggest outside of India with everything from dance, food and fashion.

Thousands of people gathered in Leicester for the city's annual Diwali lights switch on.

The Golden Mile was lit up by 6,000 lights last night.

Around 40,000 people gathered to mark the 40th anniversary of the event.

The switch on was followed by a fireworks display.

Diwali celebrations have begun in Leicester last night Credit: ITV Central

Throughout the next two weeks different events will be taking place, culminating with another fireworks display and entertainment on Diwali Day.

The festival is one of the biggest outside of India with everything from dance, food and fashion.

Credit: ITV Central

The Diwali Wheel of Light has also returned to Belgrave Road this year, and will remain until November the 12th.

What is happening on Diwali day in Leicester?

On the November 12 people will gather for the end of Diwali celebrations. Here is what you can expect on the day:

  • 3pm – 9pm         Diwali Village

  • 5pm                    Parade of Light Procession

  • 5pm – 8.30pm    Main Stage

  • 5pm – 8pm         Rickshaw Sound Systems

  • 5.30pm & 7pm    Ancient Giants

  • 6pm – 8pm         Diwali Truck Stage

  • 7.30pm               Fireworks Display and Soundtrack

  • 7.40pm               Talvin Singh

Thousands gathered last night to watch the lights switch on Credit: ITV Central

What is the festival about?

Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil as well as knowledge over ignorance.

It also marks a new beginning symbolised by the arrival of a new moon.

The festival is significant for various reasons according to the different faiths participating:


For Hindus, it marks Rama and his wife Sita's eventual defeat of the evil spirit Ravana and celebrates their triumphant return to their kingdom in Ayodhya after a 14-year exile.

The story narrates that oil lamps were lit by passers by to guide them on their way home and to rejoice in their victory.

The festival of Diwali also celebrates the day Mother Goddess Durga destroyed a demon called Mahisha.


For Sikhs, Diwali marks and celebrates the release of the sixth Guru, Hargobind Singh from a Mughal Empire prison in 1619. Sikhs mark the day as Bandi Chhor Diwas.

However, Diwali was celebrated even prior to this.

In fact, the foundation stone of the Golden Temple at Amritsar - which is the most holy place in the Sikh world, was laid on Diwali in 1577.


The founder of Jainism is Lord Mahavira. During Diwali, Jains celebrate the moment he reached a state called Moksha (nirvana, or eternal bliss - and freedom from the cycle of reincarnation).

It is said that the earth and the heavens were illuminated with lamps to mark the occasion of Lord Mahavira's enlightenment.