The final touches are being made to 100 beautiful willow lanterns that will open this Sunday’s Diwali Day celebrations in Leicester.
The parade is one of a number of new additions to the annual event; visitors can also enjoy a DJ set by Mercury Music Prize winner Talvin Singh, street theatre with giant puppets, and beautiful LED rickshaws that will play music along the Belgrave Road.
The celebrations will include entertainment on stage on both the Belgrave road and Cossington Street recreation ground, with activities running from 3pm to 9pm on Sunday 12 November.
This year the city council has been working with local arts organisation Inspirate to bring new and exciting elements to the traditional event format, made possible thanks to funding support from Arts Council England.
Deputy city mayor for culture Cllr Adam Clarke said: “Diwali celebrates the triumph of good over evil and light over darkness, and Diwali Day is a very special part of our festival calendar. We are looking forward to welcoming thousands of visitors to join in with our celebrations.
“This year’s event promises to be a feast for all the senses with spectacular light and fire shows, lots of music and of course great food courtesy of the traders on the Golden Mile.”
Jiten Anand of inspirate said: “As someone who grew up on Belgrave Road - I cannot express how excited I am to see this new iteration of Diwali come to life! We have been ambitiously pioneering ways to raise the artistic quality of this historic festival, so it's accessible to a new generation of communities in Leicester.
“Diwali Festival has the potential to become a world-class event in the UK's cultural calendar, and we are taking a big leap in making this happen."
The celebrations will get under way with a joyful parade of lanterns made by local school children and families, working with artist Shamila Chady. The parade of light and sound will leave from the main stage on Belgrave Road at 5pm.
From 5.30pm, gods and demons from South Asian tales will be brought to life in a family-friendly street theatre show featuring giant puppetry, martial arts, dance and storytelling.
Beautifully decorated mobile rickshaws will travel around Belgrave Road between 5pm and 8pm, each one uniquely designed and wired for sound to encourage visitors to dance their way through the Diwali celebrations.
More music will be on offer from the Diwali truck, also on Belgrave Road, where DJ Yumna Black will spin his decks throughout the evening, bringing contemporary sounds blending east and west and as well as collaborations with live musicians.
The nearby Cossington Street Recreation Ground will bring the festival of light to life with a neon waterfall light show, a fire garden of glowing structures, and a spectacular laser light show, all running between 5pm and 9pm.
The park will also host the stage of light, where DJ Amrita Kalsi will keep the atmosphere going with modern and old-school bhangra rhythms.
This year’s firework display will light up the skies from 7.30pm, and will be accompanied by a soundtrack created and produced by internationally renowned composer and musician Arun Ghosh.
The grand finale to the evening will see Talvin Singh headline the stage of light with his explosive fusion of Indian and electronic sounds. A maestro percussionist, producer and composer, Talvin is renowned for creating the bridge between classical Indian arts and electronic music, and will be keeping the festival atmosphere going after the firework display.
More information can be found at visitleicester.info
Leicester’s Diwali celebrations are being held with support from the University of Leicester.