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Leicester’s Diwali lights switch-on event cancelled

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  • Diwali

Diwali light switch on in Leicester 2019

image copyrightBeth Walsh

image captionThe Diwali lights switch-on event marks the start of two weeks of festivities

Leicester’s Diwali celebrations – believed to be among the biggest outside of India – have been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

Thousands of people usually gather to watch traditional dance and music events in the city throughout October.

However, while the lights along the Golden Mile will still be switched on, Leicester City Council said large gatherings have to be prevented.

Christmas events are also cancelled but decorations will still go up.

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The city council said its team would start putting up the Diwali lights as normal, but they will be switched on using a timer.

image copyrightBeth Walsh

image captionThe Diwali lights switch-on in Leicester has attracted up to 40,000 people in previous years

The authority’s director of tourism, Mike Dalzell, said they were still looking at ideas for alternative ways for people to mark the festive occasions.

“It’s obviously hugely disappointing that these popular events won’t be taking place this year,” he said.

“But with so much uncertainty around the coronavirus situation, the most important thing is that we keep people safe.”

The Diwali lights switch-on has attracted up to 40,000 people in previous years.

Spectators have said the celebrations make them feel “proud” to be from the city, which they call “little India”.

Details of alternative plans for Diwali and Christmas will be released in the coming weeks, the council said.

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