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Slideshow: A time of colorful festivals

A woman from the Samaritan sect decorates with fruits and vegetables a traditional hut known as a "sukkah," which is a ritual hut used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, on Mount Gerizim on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, on Oct. 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

(RNS) Diwali. Thadingyut. Olojo. Sukkot.

Late October is a time of colorful festivals around the world. Some mark the harvest, others are festivals of lights. Now and in the coming weeks, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists and Yoruba are celebrating different holidays, explained here and shown in the photo essay below.

Diwali

Diwali is the Hindu festival of lights and marks the final harvest before winter. Families observe the holiday by decorating homes with electric lights and oil lamps in earthenware pots and opening doors and windows to invite in Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth. In India, Diwali is also celebrated by many non-Hindus.

Sukkot

The Feast of Tabernacles is a harvest holiday in which Jews gather for meals and worship inside outdoor booths modeled on the huts their ancestors lived in during the 40-year biblical exodus from Egypt. It is also celebrated by Samaritans — a tiny religious group stemming from the ancient Israelites — as well as some evangelical Christians.

Thadingyut

A Buddhist festival of lights observed in Myanmar on the full moon day of the Burmese month of Thadingyut. It marks the end of Buddhist Lent (Vassa) and is meant to welcome the Buddha’s descent from the heaven where he taught sacred texts to celestial beings. During the holiday, pagodas and homes are decorated with electric lights and and paper lanterns and some people light fireworks.

Olojo

Observed in the ancient Yoruba city of Ife in southwest Nigeria, Olojo is held in remembrance of the creation of mankind. It is presided over by the Ooni, or king, of Ife, who wears a colorful crown of beads, and the celebrations include pageants, fashion shows and soccer games.

 

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks by palm branches used to cover a ritual booth known as a sukkah during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood, on October 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Amir Cohen

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man walks by palm branches used to cover a ritual booth known as a sukkah during the upcoming Jewish holiday of Sukkot in Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood, on Oct.13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Amir Cohen

 

A woman from the Samaritan sect decorates with fruits and vegetables a traditional hut known as a "sukkah", which is a ritual hut used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, on Mount Gerizim on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, on October 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

A woman from the Samaritan sect uses fruits and vegetables to decorate a “sukkah,” a ritual hut used during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, on Mount Gerizim on the outskirts of the West Bank city of Nablus, on Oct. 13, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

 

A girl plays in the ocean of lights attraction during the Diwali lights switch on in Leicester, Britain on October 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Darren Staples

A girl plays in the “Ocean of Light” attraction during the Diwali lights switch-on in Leicester, England, on Oct. 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Darren Staples

 

A woman paints earthen lamps which are used to decorate temples and homes during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Kolkata, India on October 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

A woman paints earthen lamps that are used to decorate temples and homes during Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, in Kolkata, India, on Oct. 17, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

 

Worshippers attend the Olojo festival in Ile Ife, in Nigeria, on October 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

Worshippers attend the Olojo festival in Ife, Nigeria, on Oct. 15, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

 

Women light incense for prayers during the Thadingyut (Festival of Lights) full moon day festival at the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon on October 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

Women light incense for prayers during the Thadingyut (Festival of Lights), a full moon day festival at the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar, on Oct. 16, 2016. Photo courtesy of Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

This story is available for republication.

About the author

Sally Morrow

Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012 as Photo/Multimedia Editor. She is a photographer and editor based in Kansas City. Morrow has worked as a multimedia editor and photographer at Newsday, The Des Moines Register, and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

About the author

Jerome Socolovsky

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