Leicester City manager Claudio Ranieri attended last night’s prestigious Diwali Light Switch-On, bringing with him the Premier League trophy.
Marking the start of the festival of light, Leicester’s famous Golden Mile was transformed and illuminated into a spectacular display, attracting 30,000 people to the annual celebrations.
Known for being the largest Diwali event outside of India, crowds arrived earlier on in the evening to Melton Road. Men, women and children enjoyed a whole host of music and dancing leading up to the colourful switch-on and remarkable firework display.
Claudio Ranieri shared his thoughts on the festival: “It’s the first time, I’m very proud to be a part of this great festival. I live in an area with a lot of Indian people and they are very good people
“I love all the culture; we are friends and brothers together and I enjoy being a part of this festival.”
An 11 year old pupil from Rushey Mead School, Jodeen Kaur was rewarded the honour of switching on the lights after winning a writing competition. She was joined on stage by many of Leicester’s familiar faces including Claudio Ranieri, City Mayor Peter Soulsby and MP Keith Vaz, and also had her photo taken with them alongside the famous Premier League Trophy.
Cossington Street recreation ground also hosted a Diwali village for the first time, allowing visitors to enjoy a variety of stalls and food, as well as funfair rides and entertainment which was perfect for the kids.
A local Leicester couple said: “We’ve had a great time. The weathers been good there’s good food. We come here every year and it’s one of the best Diwali festival events in the world.”
The event attracted not only Leicester locals but people from around the UK and afar to celebrate the start of a major festival in the Hindu calendar in preparation for Diwali day.
A visitor to the city said: “It’s very eventful and busy. I’m not originally from Leicester so for me it’s an insightful way of seeing how the city celebrates Diwali and it’s quite nice actually and my children love it.”
A young visitor from Tanzania said: “It’s just a really crazy experience. It’s great to see so many people celebrating the festival.”
More events will be taking place around Leicester leading up to Diwali Day on October 30.
For more information please visit: www.visitleicester.info/