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Hindus worldwide recently celebrated Diwali, a five-day "festival of lights" that marks the new year and honors the principle of good over evil. One Diwali ritual is honoring Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity. The occasion is also celebrated with fireworks, the sharing of sweets and gifts, and by decorating homes with lights and candles. Diwali is an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore, and Fiji.-- Lloyd Young EDITOR'S NOTE: Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, there will be no post on Friday.)( 42 photos total)
A reveler lights a bottle rocket at a park during Diwali, the “festival of lights”, in Kolkata on Nov. 13. The festival marks the victory of good over evil and commemorates the time when Hindu God Lord Rama achieved victory over Ravana and returned to his kingdom Ayodhya after 14 years in exile. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images)

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Today marks the start of the five-day festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs around the world. During Diwali, originally a harvest festival, lamps are lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, fireworks are set off to drive away evil spirits, and prayers for prosperity are offered to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Collected here are images of this year's festival, as celebrants color their world, give prayers, and wish each other a happy Diwali. [33 photos]

A girl lights earthen lamps in a formation to form the shape of Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, on November 12, 2012. (Reuters/Ajay Verma)

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ALMOST…THERE
ALMOST…THERE: Australia’s Georgia Nanscawen, in yellow, and American Rachel Dawson reached for the ball during the Four Nations tournament at the North Harbor Hockey Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand, Thursday. (Phil Walter/Getty Images)

RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS
RESPECTING THEIR ELDERS: Holy men stepped over children during a ritual to bless them amid a procession to mark the Gajan Hindu festival in Kolkata Thursday. (Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters)

POWER-WASHED
POWER-WASHED: A municipal worker washed a statue of Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, in Moscow’s Gagarin Square Wednesday. Russia celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day Thursday. (Andrey Smirnov/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

TEMPLE TIME
TEMPLE TIME: A man took a dip in the waters of the Sikh Shrine Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, Thursday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

ROLE PLAYING
ROLE PLAYING: A man wore an astronaut costume as he celebrated Aviation and Cosmonautics Day in Moscow Thursday. (Mikhail Metzel/Associated Press)

A BLIND BOY
A BLIND BOY: A blind Palestinian student used the Braille system to read during an English lesson at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency-run al-Nour (Light) School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children in Gaza City Thursday. (Mohammed Salem/Reuters)

DELAYED
DELAYED: A passenger looked out a bus window while police officer stood guard during a strike in Athens Thursday. A group of long-distance bus drivers on strike tried to block buses from leaving the main terminal in the capital. (John Kolesidis/Reuters)

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TRAPPED MINERS
TRAPPED MINERS: Clothing used by miners dried on a rock wall Tuesday outside the entrance of the Cabeza de Negro gold and copper mine in Yauca del Rosario, Peru. Authorities say nine miners trapped inside the mine since April 5 are being supplied with sports drinks, soup and food while emergency responders work to free them. (Martin Mejia/Associated Press)

EGG ON HER FACE
EGG ON HER FACE: An egg cracked over a Sri Lankan army officer during a game at an event to celebrate the Sinhalese and Tamil New Year in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Tuesday. The new year, which also marks the end of the harvest season, will be celebrated on April 13 and 14. (Gemunu Amarasinghe/Associated Press)

TIGHT SPOT FOR A SWIM
TIGHT SPOT FOR A SWIM: A boy swam in a water reservoir to cool off as the temperature rose, while other children waited their turn on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, Tuesday. (Muhammed Muheisen/Associated Press)

CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE
CARNIVAL ATMOSPHERE: A young girl played near a shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday. (Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty Images)

BAHRAIN UNREST
BAHRAIN UNREST: A Shiite Muslim covered his face from tear gas fired by riot police after a demonstration in support of jailed activist Abdulhadi al-Khawaja and against U.S. support of the Bahrain government. The protest also called for the cancellation of a Formula One Grand Prix race — Bahrain’s premier international event. (AFP/Getty Images)

ON THEIR WAY
ON THEIR WAY: Indian Sikh Nihang, or religious Sikh warriors, raised their swords after boarding a train in Amritsar, India, Tuesday. Thousands of Indian Sikh pilgrims are expected in Pakistan at the birthplace of the founder of the Sikh faith for the Sikh New Year. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images)

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A man walks as snow and frozen wind billows cross the region, in Roncesvalles, northern Spain, Thursday Feb. 2, 2012. A cold spell has reached Europe with temperatures plummeting far below zero. Protesters demonstrate inside of a tent created by draping a tarp over a statue of Union General James McPherson at the Occupy DC [...]

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DOING THEIR DUTY
DOING THEIR DUTY: Voters waited in line to cast ballots at a polling station near the India-Pakistan border Monday. Millions of Indians are voting in Assembly elections. (Altaf Qadri/Associated Press)

HOLY HAIR
HOLY HAIR: A Hindu holy man whipped his head back as he took a dip at Sangam, the confluence of the Rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, during the Magh Mela fair in Allahabad, India, Monday. (Rajesh Kumar Singh/Associated Press)

RIPPED
RIPPED: Serbian Novak Djokovic celebrated his Australian Open win over Spain’s Rafael Nadal in Melbourne, Australia. Mr. Djokovic won in a record five hours and 53 minutes. The win was the second straight Australian Open title for Mr. Djokovic and his third straight victory at a Grand Slam tournament. (Ryan Pierse/European Pressphoto Agency)

VERIFIED
VERIFIED: Voter Hardans Kaur held up her identity card as she waited in line at a polling station in Amritsar, India, Monday. (Narinder Nanu/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

MITT THROWS
MITT THROWS: Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney tossed chips to members of the media on his campaign plane in Jacksonville, Fla., Monday. The state’s primary is Tuesday. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

HEAVE-HO
HEAVE-HO: Police prepared to dump neutralizers at the contaminated Longjiang River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang, China, Monday. Police are dumping activated carbon, quick lime and aluminum chloride. (Huang Xiaobang/Xinhua/Zuma Press)

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PRAYING IN A POND
PRAYING IN A POND: A Sikh man prayed as he took a dip in the sacred pond of Golden Temple on a cold, foggy day in Amritsar, India, Wednesday. (Raminder Pal Singh/European Pressphoto Agency)

HAPPY FEET
HAPPY FEET: Soldiers danced before they rehearsed for a Republic Day parade in New Delhi Wednesday. India will celebrate Republic Day on Jan. 26. (Roberto Schmidt/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

A FAITHFUL FALL
A FAITHFUL FALL: A man plunged backward into cold water to celebrate Orthodox Epiphany in Minsk, Belarus, Wednesday. (Viktor Drachev/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images)

SEPARATION ANXIETY
SEPARATION ANXIETY: Anele Ramphomana cried as he gave his mother, unseen, a thumbs-up as he started school at the Thembile Primary School in Krugersdorp, South Africa, Wednesday. (Lungelo Mbulwana/Associated Press)

EXCHANGE UPROAR
EXCHANGE UPROAR: People protested at the Dhaka Stock Exchange in Bangladesh Wednesday. The exchange operator suspended trading Tuesday after reports said the government would enforce a ban on civil servants and the armed forces from investing in shares. (Monirul Alam/Zuma Press)

SEARCH SUSPENDED
SEARCH SUSPENDED: Police divers swam near the Costa Concordia off the coast of Giglio, Italy, Wednesday. The search was suspended; 11 bodies have been found since the cruise ship crashed Friday. A judge ordered Capt. Francesco Schettino jailed under house arrest. (Massimo Percossi/European Pressphoto Agency)

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