PHOTOS & VIDEOS
Diwali: The Festival of LightsOctober 27, 2011
On October 26, millions of people around the world welcomed the start of Diwali (de-vah-lee), or the Festival of Lights. The five-day holiday marks the end of the Hindu calendar year. People light lamps and candles to celebrate the victory of good over evil. The festival is celebrated by Hindus, Here, a woman in Karachi, Pakistan, lights a ceramic oil lamp.
Indian potter Madipadiga Lalitha paints ceramic oil lamps, or diyas, in preparation for the festivities. During Diwali, people honor the Hindu goddess of wealth, Lakshmi, by decorating their homes with flowers and diyas.
A Sweet Celebration
Chef Parmanand prepares sweets in the days leading up to the Diwali holiday, in Amritsar, India. It is tradition to give friends and family the gift of sweets and snacks during the festival.
Khyati Mehra performs a special dance during pre-Diwali celebrations in Amritsar, India, on October 23. Diwali is one of the most important festivals of the year for people of the Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions.
In Full Bloom
A vendor arranges garlands of artificial flowers at his booth, in Jammu, India, in preparation for the holiday. Flowers are offered to Hindu gods and goddesses as part of the festival. Diwali commemorates the mythical homecoming of the Hindu god Lord Ram after he vanquished the demon king Ravana.
All Fired Up
Women and their children, in Allahabad, India, celebrate Diwali by lighting fireworks. The noise is believed to drive away evil spirits.
Start of a New Year
Girls put the finishing touches on a rangoli, a traditional design meant to welcome Hindu gods and goddesses, in a courtyard outside their homes in the city of Ahmedebad, India. The Gujarati people celebrate their New Year on the day after Diwali begins.