Diwali and Christmas lights to go up but no crowds this year

Two of the biggest events in Leicester’s festival calendar will not take place this year, as coronavirus restrictions continue to prevent people from gathering in large groups.

The lights switch-on for Diwali – normally held in October – and the Christmas lights in November would usually attract tens of thousands of people.

Although both events have had to be cancelled, the traditional Diwali and Christmas decorations will still light up the city.

Leicester city council’s lighting team will start putting up the lights as normal early next month, but they will be switched on – without fanfare – by a timer.

Staff in the council’s festivals and events team are now working up ideas for alternative ways for people to mark the occasions – but what’s already clear is that the ice rink in Jubilee Square won’t be part of the plans this year.

Director of tourism, culture and inward investment Mike Dalzell said: “Social distancing requirements, and restrictions on the number of people who would be allowed on the ice at any one time, mean that bringing the ice rink to Leicester is sadly neither manageable nor affordable this year.”

“But the good news is that, all being well, the ice rink will be back in Leicester in 2021.”

“Christmas will be different for everyone this year, but we’re determined to make the city look more festive than ever, and we’ve already ordered a giant Christmas tree for the Clock Tower and some brand new decorations for Horsefair Street and Humberstone Gate.”

“Diwali will obviously be different too, but we’re looking at a number of ideas that will allow people to mark the occasion in alternative ways.”

Leicester’s traditional Bonfire Event in Abbey Park has also been cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic, while other popular events – such as the Cosmopolitan Arts Festival and the Leicester International Music Festival – will take place online this year.