Leicester's Golden Mile lights up for Diwali celebrations

More than 30,000 people have gathered along Leicester's Golden Mile for the city's annual Diwali celebrations.

Crowds enjoyed traditional Indian music and dance along Belgrave Road to mark the festival of light.

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Leicester's celebrations are said to be among the biggest outside India.

The crowds enjoyed food, music and dance before the celebrations ended with a display of 5,000 fireworks at Cossington Street Recreation Ground.

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Members of De Montfort University's Bollywood Dance Society performed as part of the celebrations, while some just watched the entertainment.

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Diwali is one of the biggest festivals in the Indian calendar and is celebrated by Hindus, Sikhs and Jains all over the world. Its name is taken from a Sanskrit word meaning row of lights.

It also marks the start of the Hindu New Year.

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Dean of Leicester David Monteith said: "Light is a common symbol of all our religions and a big part of this festival is the triumph of light over darkness."

Indian artist Janak Chauhan came to Leicester to create a rangoli art exhibition in the Belgrave Neighbourhood Centre, which included creating patterns with coloured sand.

Deputy city mayor Rory Palmer said: "It has been a great atmosphere. It is something for Leicester to be proud of."

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Leicester's festivities were the culmination of months of planning by a dedicated committee.

Jashvant Chauhan, secretary of the Leicester Hindu Festival Council, said: "All the items of entertainment appeal to everyone.

"Young and old have all come together and showed their energy in their performances."

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Celebrations also include the lighting of earthen lamps, bursting firecrackers and distributing sweets.

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