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October 26, 2011
Hindus observe 'festival of lights'
Hindus around the world are celebrating Diwali (doo-VALL-ee) this week. Also known as "the festival of lights," the holiday is one of the most celebrated of the Hindu calendar. Hindus light lamps to signify the victory of good over evil. Gifts and sweets are given and prayers are offered to the Hindu goddess of wealth.
The celebration has slightly different names and origin stories, depending on the region of India or Southeast Asia where a person lives or hails from. Diwali usually occurs between mid-October and mid-November and usually lasts five days. -- AP
(26 images)



Sri Lankan Hindu devotees participate in religious ritual celebrating Diwali festival in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, marks the victory of good over evil and light over darkness. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe


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Hindu priests perform an act of worship as Sri Lankan devotees participate in rituals celebrating Diwali festival in Colombo, Sri Lanka, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. AP / Gemunu Amarasinghe



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Indian women buy floral decorations and prayer material to celebrate Hindu festival Diwali, or the festival of lights, at a shop in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. AP / Mustafa Quraishi



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A Nepalese Hindu devotee performs rituals during the Tihar festival, or the festival of lights also known as Diwali, in Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. AP / Niranjan Shrestha



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A rickshaw driver carries marigold flower garlands on Diwali in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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Young Indian Hindu girls give finishing touches to a Rangoli, or decorated pattern on the floor, on the festival of Diwali, or the festival of lights, also the eve of Gujrati New Year, in Ahmedabad, India, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011. AP / Ajit Solanki



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Children light candles ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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An Indian woman buys decoration items ahead of the Hindu festival Diwali in Mumbai, India, Monday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Rafiq Maqbool



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A girl sells artificial decorative flowers in the middle of a crowded market on the eve of the Diwali festival in Jammu, India, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Channi Anand



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Indian street vendors sell artificial garlands and statues of the Gods ahead of the Hindu festival Diwali in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Tsering Topgyal



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Indian people shop for Marigold flowers to decorate their houses and shops during the Diwali festival in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Mahesh Kumar A



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Indian people shop for Marigold flowers to decorate their houses and shops during the Diwali festival in Hyderabad, India, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Mahesh Kumar A



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An Indian boy sells decoration items ahead of the Hindu festival Diwali in New Delhi, India, Monday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Tsering Topgyal



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Nepalese policemen garland and apply vermillion on the foreheads of their dogs during the Tihar festival at a police kennel division in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. Dogs are worshipped to acknowledge their role in providing security as part of rituals during Tihar festival, or the festival of lights, also known as Diwali. AP / Niranjan Shrestha



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Police dogs stand up obeying commands of their keepers during the Tihar festival celebrations at a police kennel division in Katmandu, Nepal, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2011. AP / Niranjan Shrestha



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A young Indian girl gives finishing touches to an idol of Hindu Goddess of Wealth Lakshmi ahead of Diwali, the festival of lights, in Allahabad, India, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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An Indian woman carries idols of elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh, left, and goddess of wealth Lakshmi, right, for sale ahead of Diwali festival in Allahabad, India, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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An Indian woman selects bangles as she shops for gold jewelry ahead of Diwali festival in Allahabad, India, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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Indians make traditional sweets for sale ahead of Diwali festival in Jammu, India, Monday, Oct. 24, 2011. AP / Channi Anand



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An Indian Police commando stands guard at a market where shops are illuminated ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali in New Delhi, India, Sunday, Oct. 23, 2011. AP / Mustafa Quraishi



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An Indian woman buys home decorations prior to Diwali, in Kolkata, India, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. AP / Bikas Das



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A woman collects earthen lamps after drying in Allahabad, India, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011. On Diwali, also known as the Festival of Lights, Hindus light lamps to signify the victory of good over evil. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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Members of a Hindu family place earthen lamps on near rangoli, a hand decorated pattern on the floor, ahead of the upcoming festival of Diwali in Ahmadabad, India, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. AP / Ajit Solanki



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An artisan carries idols of Hindu goddess Lakshmi, center and right, and Ganesha, left, ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali, in Allahabad, India, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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An Indian laborer transports a shelf as packets of firecrackers are displayed for sale outside a shop ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali in Jammu, India, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011. AP / Channi Anand



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An Indian potter carries earthen lamps before stacking them on a hearth to harden them, ahead of Diwali festival in Allahabad, India, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. Hindus light lamps to signify the victory of good over evil during the festival. AP / Rajesh Kumar Singh



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