Diwali & Christmas celebrations to return to city’s streets
Leicester’s annual Diwali and Christmas celebrations will be returning to the city's streets this year.
The city council has announced that the day the Diwali lights are turned on, Diwali Day itself, and the switching-on of Leicester’s Christmas lights will all be marked with on-street entertainment, although in a slightly different format to previous years.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, last year’s events were marked virtually with online content.
This year, the council plans to take the festivities back on to the streets, with a new approach that will reduce the need for people to congregate in one place at the same time.
The council plans to close Belgrave Road to traffic as usual, for both switch-on day on 24 October and Diwali Day on 4 November. In a change to previous years, the stage usually sited near to the Belgrave roundabout will be replaced with two giant screens located on Belgrave Road showing a pre-recorded cultural programme that will run throughout the evening.
A third giant screen will be located on Cossington Street Recreation Ground. This will enable visitors to view the entertainment in different locations and at different times, reducing the need for crowds to gather in one place at a fixed point in the evening.
With the covid security of visitors a key consideration, the annual firework displays will be replaced this year with a Fire Garden on Cossington Street recreation ground, and a Global Rainbow that will beam light across the city.
Cossington Street Recreation Ground will also host a Diwali Village featuring food stalls and funfair rides.
Deputy city mayor for culture Cllr Piara Singh-Clair said: “We have been determined to do all we can to bring the Diwali and Christmas celebrations back to the streets of Leicester, while making public safety our priority.
“The new format of the Diwali events means that people can enjoy the sights and sounds of our Diwali celebrations at any point during the evening, and won’t need to congregate in one space.
“Our plans for Christmas activities are currently being finalised, but we will be taking a similar approach.”
Belgrave Road will close at 5pm on Sunday 24 October to mark the Diwali lights being turned on. The cultural programme will be shown on the giant screens every hour from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. It will include a religious ceremony performed by the Hindu Festival Council as well as entertainment from Nupur Arts and local dance groups. The lights will be turned on before the road closure to prevent crowds gathering.
Diwali day festivities on Thursday 4 November will also start with the road closure at 5pm, and the showing of the cultural programme from 5.30pm to 8.30pm.
The council is currently finalising its plans around the Christmas light switch-on which is set for 18 November, and other Christmas activities, and will publish these in the next few weeks.
The return of the ice-rink to Jubilee Square has already been announced, and this will be in place from 2 Dec to 3 Jan, with tickets going on sale in October.
The council’s annual bonfire and firework display on Abbey Park is also set to return this year. More details will be available soon.
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