Diwali 2013: Hindu Festival Of Lights Celebrated All Over The World [PHOTOS]

on November 02 2013 12:59 PM
  • Diwali 2013
    A vendor stands under lanterns for sale at a Diwali market in Mumbai October 31, 2013. Hindus decorate their homes and places of worship with flowers and lights during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which will be celebrated across the country on Sunday. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    A man takes pictures of light decorations before upcoming Diwali celebrations in Kuala Lumpur October 27, 2013. The Hindu community, which consists of eight percent of Malaysia's 26 million population, will celebrate the Diwali festival of lights on November 2, known locally as Deepavali. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    Hindu women arrange oil lamps and flowers around a "Rangoli", a traditional pattern made from coloured powders, during the celebrations ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad November 1, 2013. Diwali, the annual festival of lights will be celebrated across the country on November 3. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    A Hindu man prays ahead of Diwali celebrations inside a Hindu temple in Kuala Lumpur November 1, 2013. The Hindu community, which consists of eight percent of Malaysia's population of 26 million, will celebrate Diwali, the festival of lights on November 2, known locally as Deepavali. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    A woman applies henna on the hand of a customer at a Deepavali Bazaar at Little India in Singapore October 31, 2013. The Hindu community will celebrate the Festival of Lights known as Diwali or Deepavali, on November 2. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    A vendor sells festive flowers at Little India in Singapore October 31, 2013. The Hindu community will celebrate the Festival of Lights known as Diwali or Deepavali, on November 2. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    A Muslim vendor arranges artificial garlands for sale inside his shop ahead of the Hindu festival of Diwali in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad October 30, 2013. Flowers are offered to Hindu gods and goddesses on the occasion of Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated across the country on November 3. Reuters
  • Diwali 2013
    Light decorations before upcoming Diwali celebrations are pictured in Kuala Lumpur October 27, 2013. The Hindu community, which consists of eight percent of Malaysia's 26 million population, will celebrate the Diwali festival of lights on November 2, known locally as Deepavali. Reuters
  • Diwali 2012
    Surinamese Hindus participate in an annual procession in celebration of Diwali at the Independence Square in Paramaribo, November 10, 2012. Hindus in Suriname decorate their homes for Diwali with lamps and candles, hoping Lakshmi will visit them during this period. Reuters
  • Diwali 2012
    People crowd at a wholesale flower market ahead of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Kolkata November 12, 2012. Hindus decorate their homes and places of worship with flowers during the festival, which will be celebrated across the country on Tuesday. Photograph taken with a slow shutter speed and zoom lens. Reuters
  • Diwali 2012
    A man stands under lanterns for sale at a Diwali market in Mumbai, November 12, 2012. Hindus decorate their homes and places of worship with flowers and lights during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, which will be celebrated across the country on Tuesday. Reuters
  • Diwali 2012
    People light 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 November 12, 2012. Reuters
  • Festive Season Across the World: Diwali 2011, Festival of Lights in India [Breathtaking Diwali PHOTOS]
    A woman lights candles at a Hindu temple during Diwali prayers in Colombo. Prayers and offerings are made to Hindu gods and goddesses on the occasion of Diwali, the annual festival of lights. Reuters
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Diwali, the spectacular Hindu festival of lights celebrated all over the world, will kick off Sunday, Nov. 3.

The five-day event begins with traditional holiday staples like candles and oil lamps, called "diyas." Diwali, a contraction of the word "Deepavali" -- meaning row of lights in Sanskrit -- is often celebrated with food, dancing, parties and, of course, colorful lights hanging everywhere. Many Hindus celebrate with prayer to Sita, a descendant of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and beauty, and Rama, the supreme God and descendant of Vishnu.

The festival symbolizes the victory of light over dark, good over evil, and knowledge over darkness, and honors of the return of Hindu god Rama to his kingdom after years of exile. In the ancient Sanskrit epic "Ramayana," Lord Rama along with his wife Sita and brother Lakshmana are welcomed back to their kingdom Ayodhya, with residents lighting oil lamps following the defeat of the demon king Ravana.

Hindus continue to commemorate these events by lighting oil lamps, decorating their homes, and eating sweet treats. While some Hindus also exchange gifts made of gold, this year that could be problematic since a report last week said supplies of gold jewelry in India may be depleted right before Diwali. “The reality is that the supply chain in India is currently too slow to keep up with what is expected to be strong physical demand during the Diwali holiday period,” UBS precious metals analyst Joni Teves said.

Diwali is not only celebrated in India, where more than 80 percent of the country identifies as Hindu. Many other nations with large Hindu populations, like Trinidad and Tobago, also celebrate Diwali, each giving the holiday its own unique cultural flavor.

In New Delhi, the capital of India, residents customarily decorate their homes with "rangolis," flowers, lights and earthen "diyas" for the occasion. In the Indian city of Amritsar, thousands flock to Harmandir Sahib, a prominent Sikh Gurdwara nicknamed “The Golden Temple,” to pay obeisance.

Roger Seepersad, of Trinidad and Tobago, told CNN last year "the Hindu community celebrates by cleaning their houses and preparing foods such as roti, channa and aloo, white rice, and various vegetable curries. They also prepare sweets like parsad, kurma and barfi. At around 6 p.m., they light diyas around their houses. Hindus invite friends and family over to help with the diya lighting and to just enjoy each other's company ... At night there are usually tons of fireworks as well."

View the slideshow to see photos of Diwali all over the world this year as well as past years.

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