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Diwali: The Festival of Lights

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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]

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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)
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)
An Indian artisan gives finishing touches to semi-finished clay idol of the Hindu Goddess Kali, Goddess of Power, at Kumartoli, the idol artist's village in Kolkata, on November 8, 2012. The Kali worship will take place on 13 November, in the eastern Indian states along with Diwali, the Festival of Lights. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images) #
The child of a roadside flower vendor plays on a bed of marigolds for sale on Diwali in Allahabad, India, on November 13, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
A worker's hands are covered with gunpowder as he makes firecrackers at a factory in Kolkata, on November 2, 2012. (Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #
An Indian worker puts gunpowder inside a clay pot to make a firecracker for the upcoming Diwali festival near Kolkata, on November 8, 2012. Fire crackers are in heavy demand for the Hindu festival of lights. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian volunteers from a social organization release sky lanterns to promote a peaceful and eco-friendly Diwali, and create awareness of child labor practices in the firecracker industry during a function in Kolkata, on November 9, 2012. (Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian passengers sit inside a crowded train compartment as they try to reach their homes ahead of Hindu festival Diwali in Chennai, India, on November 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Arun Sankar K) #
An Indian man dressed as a monkey god Hanuman prepares for a religious procession ahead of Diwali, in Allahabad, India,on November 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
An Indian man dressed as a monkey god Hanuman participates in a religious procession in Allahabad, on November 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
A shopkeeper arranges bangles at a market ahead of the upcoming Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, on November 9, 2012. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) #
A flower vendor smiles as she waits for the customer during Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 12, 2012. Tihar, the festival of lights is one of the most important of all Hindu festival, where they worship Goddess Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth and decorate their houses with oil lamps. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #
Candles and lamps are lit across a field ahead of Diwali, in Allahabad, India, on November 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
An Indian girl tries to reach a lantern displayed for sale at a roadside stall ahead of Hindu festival of lights Diwali, in Mumbai, India, on November 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) #
Fireworks erupt above Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, India, on November 12, 2012. Original here. (CC BY Vinoth Chandar) #
An Indian trader worships an iPad and other electronic gadgets including laptops and mobile phones in New Delhi at the start of Diwali, November 13, 2012. The worshiping of account books has historically been an essential part of Diwali for the business community in India, to promote the prosperity of their trades. Signifying the modernization of the retail trade in India, some traders are now including the worship of electronic gadgets. (Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian members of a local trading organization celebrate Diwali by chanting mantras as they worship electronic gadgets including iPads, laptops and mobile phones on Diwali, in New Delhi, on November 13, 2012. The worshiping of account books has historically been an essential part of Diwali for the business community in India, to promote the prosperity of their trades. Signifying the modernization of the retail trade in India, some traders are now including the worship of electronic gadgets. (Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images) #
A street vendor arranges colored powder for sale during Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #
Nepalese police dogs, after being smeared with vermillion on their foreheads and marigold garlands placed around their necks on the occasion of the Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, on November 13, 2012. On Tihar, it is customary in Nepal for people to offer blessings to dogs, which, according to Hindu tradition, are the messengers of Yamaraj, the god of death. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images) #
People light earthen lamps in the shape of Hindu god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, on the eve of Diwali, in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh, on November 12, 2012. The letters in Hindi language reads, "Happy Diwali." (Reuters/Ajay Verma) #
Shoppers look at decorative lights for sale in a shop at a Diwali market in Mumbai, on November 12, 2012. (Reuters/Vivek Prakash) #
Hindu priests perform rituals as devotees gather around an idol of monkey god Hanuman during Hanuman Jayanti festival in Allahabad, India, on November 12, 2012. Hanuman Jayanti commemorates the birth of Hanuman, which is celebrated in some parts of northern Indian ahead of Diwali. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
An Indian artist gives the final touches to a statue of Hindu goddess Kali ahead of the Diwali festival, in Allahabad, on November 10, 2012. (Sanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images) #
Shoppers choose electric lights ahead of Diwali in Siliguri, on November 11, 2012. (Diptendu Dutta/AFP/Getty Images) #
A boy checks out a decorative light in a market during the Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #
A woman paints dried clay lamps at her workplace as her daughter watches, on the outskirts of Jammu, on November 5, 2012. Earthen lamps are sold in large numbers during Diwali, when people buy them to decorate their homes. (Reuters/Mukesh Gupta) #
Indian Sikh devotees gather at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, on the occasion of Bandi Chhor Divas or Diwali, on November 13, 2012. Sikhs celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas or Diwali to mark the return of the Sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Ji, who was freed from imprisonment and also managed to release 52 political prisoners at the same time from Gwalior fort by Mughal Emperor Jahangir in 1619. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian Sikh devotees pay their respects at the illuminated Golden Temple in Amritsar, on November 12, 2012, on the eve of Bandi Chhor Divas or Diwali. (Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian Border Security Force soldiers light candles and crackers as part of Diwali celebrations at the India-Bangladesh border post of Lankamura, near Agartala, India, on November 13, 2013. (AP Photo / Sushanta Das) #
A Nepalese woman feeds a cow during the Tihar (Diwali) festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 13, 2012. Cows are considered sacred to Hindus and are worshiped during Tihar festival, one of the most important Hindu festivals dedicated to the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #
Widows gather around a tulsi plant and light oil lamps to celebrate Diwali at a rest house run by a devotee in Bhubaneswar, India, on November 13, 2012. Diwali, the festival of lights dedicated to the Goddess of wealth Lakshmi, is being celebrated across the country today. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout) #
Nepalese policemen apply vermillion powder and perform rituals over a dog during the Tihar (Diwali) festival celebrations at a police kennel division in Kathmandu, Nepal, on November 13, 2012. Dogs are worshiped to acknowledge their role in providing security during the festival. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha) #
Vendors sell fruits at a local market in Kathmandu on November 12, 2012, ahead of the Nepalese festival of Tihar (Diwali). (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images) #
A girl sits at a temple after a prayer session during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in the village of Taman Permata, outside Kuala Lumpur, on November 13, 2012. The Hindu community, which makes up 8 percent of Malaysia's 28 million population, celebrated the start of Diwali, known locally as Deepavali, on Tuesday by decorating their homes and visiting places of worship. (Reuters/Bazuki Muhammad) #

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