In Pictures: Diwali Festival

India lights up for Diwali during the five days of festivities that began November 13.


Diwali, the festival of lights, began on November 13 and will be celebrated by millions around the world for the next five days.

Also known as Deepawali in India, the festival is celebrated by Hindus to commemorate the homecoming of the god Ram after he spends 14 years in exile.

For many in India, it also marks the end of the harvest season and is the chance to give thanks to Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth and prosperity.

While the story behind Diwali and the manner of celebration varies from region to region, the festival is celebrated in memory that good prevails over evil.

During Diwali, the vibrant lights of traditional clay lamps, known as diyas, are lit and children set off firecrackers. Families get together, wear new clothes, and share sweets.

Diwali, a national holiday in India, is also celebrated by a number of other countries around the world, and Sikhs, Buddhists, Arya Samajists and Jains also observe the festival.