Start of Diwali celebrations lights up the city
HUNDREDS of people descended on the Derby Hindu Temple last night to celebrate the switching on of the Diwali lights.
Known as the festival of lights, Diwali marks the start of the Hindu new year and is one of the biggest religious celebrations in the world.
It takes place over five days, sees shops and houses decorated with lights, huge firework displays in the community and ends on Tuesday.
Anna Gautama, art and culture manager at the temple, in Pear Tree Road, said: "Diwali is the celebration of the victory of light over darkness and of good over evil.
"This is our way of sharing our culture with the whole community.
"We have lots and lots of people come from all over the community to celebrate."
The lights are traditionally small earthenware oil lamps – called diyas – which are placed in rows on windows and doors. The lamps help light the way for Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, to enter their homes.
Mukesh Kumar, a priest at the temple, said: "People will celebrate in their homes and give each other gifts and they will also come to the temple to pray.
"People will bring offerings to the temple, like food and flowers, which are blessed and then handed out to everyone."
Ajay Kumar Bedi, 26, from nearby St Giles Road, said: "It is a time of great celebration and joy for us all."