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8 Stunning Photos From Diwali, Festival of Lights

The triumph of light over darkness, good or evil, hope over despair — that’s a cause celebrated by people of nearly every culture in some way.

For millions of Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, that universal concept is currently being celebrated during the holiday of Diwali, a five-day event that ends Oct. 22.

Although the spiritual meaning animating the holiday varies by religion and region, there are core customs that are followed everywhere.

The most salient feature of the holiday are the lights, which are also what give the holiday its name.

Diwali comes from the phrase row (avali) of clay lamps (deepa).

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Outside of homes, in public squares, along streets and boulevards — all throughout towns and cities — people are lighting clay and and other lamps, creating hypnotic bursts of color to ward off the dark.

People celebrating the holiday also decorate their homes with patterns made from colored rice or powder, exchange gifts and sweets, support charity, and offer prayers.  

India is the epicenter of Diwali, but it is celebrated all throughout South Asia and in diasporas around the world.

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Here are some of the best photos from celebrations from the past few years.

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Diwali-Festival-Explainer.jpgIndian children play with firecrackers to celebrate Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in New Delhi, India, Oct. 19, 2017.
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP

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An Indian woman Rishitha places earthen lamps or 'diyas' at her home on the eve of Diwali Festival in Hyderabad on October 18, 2017. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, marks the triumph of good over evil, and commemorates the return of Hindu deity Rama to his birthplace Ayodhya after victory against the demon king Ravana.

Diwali-Lantern-Festival.jpgIndians light a sky lantern to celebrate Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, Oct. 19, 2017.
Image: Altaf Qadri/AP

Diwali-Women-Firecracker-Festival.jpgIndians play with firecrackers to celebrate Diwali in Hyderabad, India, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. Hindus light lamps, wear new clothes, exchange sweets and gifts and pray to goddess Lakshmi during Diwali, the festival of lights.
Image: Mahesh Kumar A./AP

Embed from Getty Images

A Pakistani Hindu family offers prayers and light candles as they mark Diwali, the Festival of Lights, in Lahore on October 30, 2016.

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In this photograph taken on October 27, 2016, an Indian worker bursts firecrackers during a fireworks display at a local marketplace on the eve of Diwali festival in Jammu. Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, will be celebrated on October 30.

Diwali-Children-Festival.jpgIn this Oct. 29, 2016 photo, children watch firecrackers being lit on the eve of Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, at an orphanage in Jammu, India.
Image: Channi Anand/AP

Embed from Getty Images

Children light fireworks during Diwali celebrations in Delhi, India, on Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015.