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Raminder Pal Singh/European Pressphoto Agency

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

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: 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: 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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