In Pictures: Diwali, Festival of Lights

Celebrations of the festival of lights take place in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and more
10-25-14 Diwali 4
In Pictures: Diwali, Festival of Lights Shailesh Andrade/Reuters

The five-day Hindu festival Diwali—which means "rows of lighted lamps"—is known as the festival of lights. The holiday, which started as a harvest festival, honors Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and marks the beginning of a new financial year each October or November, depending on the Vikrama calendar. In India, it is celebrated with clay lamps, fireworks, electric lights, bonfires, flowers, and sweets, and is considered a time to clean the home, exchange gifts, and wear new clothes. The meaning of Diwali varies in different regions of India as well as in Nepal, Bengal and elsewhere.

People decorate their houses with lanterns and lights as they celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali, the annual festival of lights, in Mumbai October 23, 2014. Shailesh Andrade/Reuters