Diwali in Leicester is known as one of the most largest celebrations of the festival outside of India. It is important to show our young people why the festival is so important to Leicester and its Indian community. But with 2023 marking the city’s 40th Diwali light switch-on, we had to get them involved too. So the young people on our Leicestival project created their own Diwali celebration, filled with entertainment for everyone to enjoy.

Researching the Essence of Diwali

In the lead up to the event, the young people had to put their research in to understand the essence of Diwali. They visited Leicester’s Golden Mile, conducting interviews at temples and restaurants to create a short documentary for a ‘FOCUS TV’ documentary. They also created intricate traditional decorations and even made some traditional onion bhajis and samosas to really immerse themselves.

Our Big Celebration

On the day of the Diwali celebration, FOCUS HQ was fully decorated with lanterns, a beautiful Rangoli sand art on our doorstep, and doorways decorated with Torans coloured to represent the Golden Mile.

We kicked off the night with some classical Indian Dancing, choreographed by Parveen who got everyone involved. Our young people then gave a presentation on the significance of Diwali and its traditions. Our FOCUS TV captured the young people’s journey of discovering the meaning of Diwali, and why it is important to Leicester’s Heritage. The young people did an amazing job putting the event together. Their level of confidence was lovely to see.

Watch FOCUS TV’s FIRST episode about Diwali in Leicester, created from their research on the Golden Mile!

We ended by bringing the Golden Mile’s light switch-on to FOCUS HQ, adorning the building with sparkling lights. It brought the true spirit of Diwali and a lovely end to our celebration.

Thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for making our young people’s Diwali celebration possible, and supporting their learning of Leicester’s culture and heritage!