PEOPLE in Leicester are being invited to be part of the city’s first virtual Diwali Day celebration.
With restrictions in place to stop the spread of coronavirus, crowds will not be gathering on Belgrave Road this year for the traditional entertainment and fireworks.
But instead, the city council is inviting people to take part in a shared Diwali Day celebration from the safety of their homes.
Members of the public can send in their personal video messages, which could feature in an hour-long package of entertainment that will be streamed on the Visit Leicester website on Diwali Day – Saturday 14 November.
Each video – filmed on a mobile phone – should be around 30-45 seconds in length, shot in landscape format and recorded in English.
People can use their video to wish a friend, or a family member, a happy Diwali – or they could share their tips for a socially-distanced, yet joyful, Diwali celebration with people around the world.
As many of the videos as possible will be used in the Diwali Day package, with some shared ahead of the big day on the council’s social media platforms.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Piara Singh Clair said: “We all need to find different ways to celebrate important festivals like Diwali and Christmas this year.
“Although we can’t meet up with our extended families in person this year, our virtual Diwali celebration will help bring people together for an experience they can share with a family member or a friend – wherever they are in the world.
“We hope that people will enjoy recording their messages, and we look forward to sharing as many of them as possible as part of our Diwali Day programming.”
Alongside the video messages, the Diwali Day programme will feature music, story-telling and dance – as well as the traditional lighting of the diva lamp.
And while the council will not be organising fireworks this year, footage of the spectacular displays from previous years will be included in the virtual event, which gets under way at 7pm on Diwali Day (14 November).
People are invited to email their videos to email@example.com
Full terms and conditions, and more information about the virtual event, can be found on the Diwali event page at visitleicester.info
Although the city’s Diwali celebrations will be very different this year, one familiar feature will be back on Belgrave Road again.
The giant Wheel of Light will start to take shape tomorrow (Tuesday 20 October) and it will open to the public – with stringent measures in place to keep people safe – on Friday (23 October).
This year, to make sure the site is Covid-secure, temperature checks will be carried out, customers will be required to wear face coverings when queuing, and they will also be asked to sanitise their hands before and after their ride.
The cabins will be sanitised after each use.
Test and trace data will be collected manually, while those with the NHS Covid App will simply be able to scan the displayed QR code to provide their contact details.
Because of the strict restrictions on social mixing, people are reminded that only members of the same household or support bubble will be able to share a cabin.
Opening times, prices and full information about Leicester's Wheel of Light can be found at www.leicestergiantwheel.com
More details about Leicester’s virtual Diwali Day celebrations will be released in early November.