LEICESTER, ENGLAND, October 21, 2013 (Leicester Mercury): One of the most spectacular and colorful celebrations in Leicester kicked off tonight, as thousands of light bulbs illuminated the Golden Mile to mark the start of Diwali.
Tens of thousands of people cheered and celebrated the switch-on, which marks the beginning of the religious festival of lights but has become an annual party for all Leicester’s communities.
The party started in Belgrave Road at 5.30pm and was due to carry on until gone 11pm with dancing, Indian drumming groups, a lantern procession and an elaborate shadow play with fireworks.
The entire length of the Golden Mile was closed to traffic and shops stayed open late while revelers of all ages and cultures strolled up and down the street, many waving glow sticks or playing with “fun snaps” — tiny fireworks that pop when thrown on the ground.
This year the big finale was a performance of the touring stage show Spellbound on Cossington Street Recreation Ground, which featured dancers from Leicester taking part in a show that has toured Mela events and Diwali celebrations in Edinburgh, Belfast, Manchester and London. There will be more celebrations along the Golden Mile on Sunday, November 3, to mark Diwali Day.