From 13th November 2012 marks the start of the five-day festival of Diwali, celebrated by Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, and Sikhs around the world. During Diwali, originally a harvest festival, lamps are lit to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, fireworks are set off to drive away evil spirits, and prayers for prosperity are offered to Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. Collected here are images of this year’s festival, as celebrants color their world, give prayers, and wish each other a Happy Diwali.

A girl lights 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, on November 12, 2012.

An Indian artisan gives finishing touches to semi-finished clay idol of the Hindu Goddess Kali, Goddess of Power, at Kumartoli, the idol artist’s village in Kolkata, on November 8, 2012. The Kali worship will take place on 13 November, in the eastern Indian states along with Diwali, the Festival of Lights.

A worker’s hands are covered with gunpowder as he makes firecrackers at a factory in Kolkata, on November 2, 2012.

An Indian worker puts gunpowder inside a clay pot to make a firecracker for the upcoming Diwali festival near Kolkata, on November 8, 2012. Fire crackers are in heavy demand for the Hindu festival of lights.

Indian volunteers from a social organization release sky lanterns to promote a peaceful and eco-friendly Diwali, and create awareness of child labor practices in the firecracker industry during a function in Kolkata, on November 9, 2012.

An Indian man dressed as a monkey god Hanuman prepares for a religious procession ahead of Diwali, in Allahabad, India,on November 12, 2012.

An Indian man dressed as a monkey god Hanuman participates in a religious procession in Allahabad, on November 12, 2012.

A shopkeeper arranges bangles at a market ahead of the upcoming Diwali festival in New Delhi, India, on November 9, 2012. [/cpation]

Candles and lamps are lit across a field ahead of Diwali, in Allahabad, India, on November 12, 2012.

An Indian girl tries to reach a lantern displayed for sale at a roadside stall ahead of Hindu festival of lights Diwali, in Mumbai, India, on November 11, 2012.

Fireworks erupt above Kapaleeshwarar Temple in Mylapore, Chennai, India, on November 12, 2012.

By Sup H

By critter