Diwali is the 5-day Hindu Festival of Lights, and as Leicester has a large Indian population, the Diwali festival here is one of the biggest celebrations outside of India. Leicester city council’s website states that around 35,000 people attend the lights switch on, with more attending Diwali Day afterwards. Similarly to the Christmas lights in most cities across England, the Diwali lights, set up around the Belgrave Road area, were switched on last Sunday (20th October), but the Diwali Day celebration is next Sunday 3rd November.
Myself and a few friends attended Diwali Day last year, which was a great evening. You can stroll down Belgrave Road (which is absolutely packed with people!), to view the lights and try Indian food (lots of it vegetarian) and Indian sweets from the different food stores/stalls open.
Then on the nearby Cossington Street Recreation Ground there is a stage set up with entertainment from 6pm – there was music and Indian dancing when I was there last year. Then later on in the evening there is a big fireworks display.
I’d definitely say it’s one of the things you have to do at some point during your 3+ years at Leicester University, because it’s a great way to get a bit of a cultural insight into a major festival from another religion and part of the world, and it is generally just a great evening. There are people from all nationalities, so it’s open to everyone, and it is completely free, so it’s worth going even just for the fireworks, because they were spectacular.