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Photos of the Year

Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious expression around the world. This week’s gallery looks back at the best photos from 2019. ShareTweet

A couple performs morning rituals in the River Ganges on the first day of the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri on the outskirts of Prayagraj , in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, India, on April 6, 2019. Hindus are celebrating Navaratri, or the festival of nine nights, with three days each devoted to the worship of Durga, the goddess of valor, Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth, and Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

(RNS) — Each week Religion News Service presents a gallery of photos of religious expression around the world. This week’s gallery looks back at the best photos from 2019.

A man rides a horse through a bonfire as part of a ritual in honor of Saint Anthony the Abbot, the patron saint of domestic animals, in San Bartolome de Pinares, Spain, on Jan. 16, 2019. On the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day, dozens ride their horses through the narrow cobblestone streets of the small village of San Bartolome during the “Luminarias,” a tradition that dates back 500 years and is meant to purify the animals with the smoke of the bonfires and protect them for the year to come. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

Hot air balloons fly over Myanmar’s ancient temples just before the sunrise in old Bagan, Nyaung U district, central Myanmar, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)

Girls play with live teacup pigs, a rare pet in the country, at the start of celebrations leading to the Lunar New Year on Feb. 1, 2019, at Lucky Chinatown Plaza in Manila, Philippines. This year is the Year of the Pig on the Chinese Lunar calendar and is supposed to represent abundance, diligence and generosity. The Lunar New Year traditions are heavily influenced by Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)

An elderly woman walks to a relative’s graves at dawn in Copaciu, southern Romania, Thursday, April 25, 2019. On Maundy Thursday during the holy week of Easter, Orthodox Christians in small southern Romanian villages go to local graveyards before sunrise, light candles and small fires, release incense and leave small bags of food on the ground. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

Thousands of candles are arranged in the shape of the Milky Way to celebrate Tanabata, a Japanese star festival, at Zojoji Temple, on July 5, 2019, in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

People kneel on the newly restored Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta), which, according to the Catholic Church, is the stair on which Jesus Christ stepped leading on his way to the crucifixion, during a special opening, in Rome, on April 11, 2019. These original marble steps will be accessible until June 9, 2019, the Feast of the Pentecost, after which their walnut wood covering, ordered by Pope Innocent XIII in 1723 to protect them, will be repositioned. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)

A man walks through the gate of the Sachsenhausen Nazi death camp with the phrase ‘Arbeit macht frei’ (‘Work Sets You Free’) during the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, in Oranienburg near Berlin, Germany, on Jan. 27, 2019. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day marks the liberation of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

A Naga Sadhu, or a naked Hindu holy man, dances during a procession towards the Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges and Yamuna, ahead of the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, India, on Jan. 2, 2019. Kumbh Mela is a 45-day festival beginning later this month where millions of Hindu devotees attend with the belief that bathing in the holy waters will cleanse them of their sins. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh)

People walk above the frozen lake ‘Reschensee-Lago di Resia’ around the former church tower of the Village of Graun in South Tyrol in northern Italy, on Feb. 25, 2019. The village was destroyed and the valley flooded in 1950, when the Etsch river was dammed. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader)

A reveler in costume performs during the “Cordao do Boitata” street party in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on Feb. 24, 2019, one of the many parades before the official start of carnival. (AP Photo/Leo Correa)

Children launch kites during Nowruz celebrations as the sun sets in Baghdad, Iraq, on March 21, 2019. Nowruz, the Farsi-language word for “new year”, is an ancient Persian festival, celebrated on the first day of spring in countries including Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran. The festival is a symbolic opportunity to purify the soul for the new year and is marked by spring cleaning, buying new clothes and planting trees. March 21, the first day of spring, marks Nowruz. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)

A relative mourns at the scene where an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 plane crashed shortly after takeoff on Sunday killing all 157 on board, near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, in Ethiopia on March 13, 2019. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews attend the wedding ceremony of Hannah Halbershtam and Menahem Nachum, the son of the rabbi of the Nadvorna Hasidic dynasty, in the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak near Tel Aviv, Israel, on Aug. 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

A Kashmiri Muslim woman covers her face as a cleric displays a relic at the Hazratbal shrine on the occasion of Mehraj-u-Alam, believed to mark the ascension of Prophet Muhammad to heaven, in Srinagar, Indian controlled Kashmir, on April 4, 2019. Thousands of Kashmiri Muslims gathered at the Hazratbal shrine, which houses a relic believed to contain hair from the beard of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Flames and smoke rise from the blaze at Notre Dame Cathedral in central Paris on April 15, 2019. An inferno that raged through the cathedral for more than 12 hours destroyed its spire and its roof but spared its twin medieval bell towers, and a frantic rescue effort saved the monument’s “most precious treasures,” including the Crown of Thorns purportedly worn by Jesus, officials said. (AP Photo/Thierry Mallet)

Bodyguards of the emir of Daura perform Friday prayers outside the central mosque as the emir prays inside in Daura, in northern Nigeria, on Feb. 22, 2019. Nigerians went to the polls for a presidential election Saturday, Feb. 23, one week after a surprise delay for Africa’s largest democracy. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Nuns get a first look at the newly renovated Christ Cathedral on July 8, 2019, in Garden Grove, Calif. The 88,000-square-foot Catholic church, formerly the Crystal Cathedral, has undergone a $77 million renovation. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Afghan Shiites flagellate themselves with chains and blades to mark Ashura, outside the Abul Fazel Shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Sept. 10, 2019. Ashoura falls on the 10th day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, when Shiites mark the death of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, at the Battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq in the 7th century. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Ana, an 88-year-old Greek Catholic, waits for the arrival of Pope Francis and the start of the Divine Liturgy and the beatification of seven martyred bishops of the Eastern-rite Romanian Catholic Church, in Blaj, Romania, on June 2, 2019. Francis was traveling across Romania to visit its far-flung Catholic communities to make up for the fact that St. John Paul II was only allowed to visit the capital, Bucharest, in 1999, in the first papal visit to a majority Orthodox country. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A Muslim boy arrives at a mosque during Ramadan in Shah Alam, Malaysia, on May 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Annice Lyn)

A participant adjusts his hat before taking part in an annual Holy Week procession through the streets of Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic, on April 19, 2019. Participants wear black clothing, white masks, beat drums and push small carts that make synchronized sounds. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

A Muslim man is silhouetted as he arrives at a mosque for Iftar during the holy Islamic month of Ramadan in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on May 16, 2019. (AP Photo/Annice Lyn)

Aztec dancers perform a ritual to receive the sun’s energy as they celebrate the Spring equinox near the Pyramid of the Sun in Teotihuacan, Mexico, on March 21, 2019. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Nepalese Hindu devotees roll on the ground as part of a ritual during the Madhav Narayan festival in Bhaktapur, Nepal, on Jan. 24, 2019. During this festival, devotees recite holy scriptures dedicated to Hindu goddess Swasthani and Lord Shiva. Unmarried women pray for a good husband while those married pray for the longevity of their husbands by observing a month-long fast. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

A blind woman reads the Quran, Islam’s holy book, written in braille during a recital class in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, on May 9, 2019. Muslims across the world are observing the holy fasting month of Ramadan. (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)

Models perform a Muslim fashion show on an airport train in Jakarta, Indonesia, on May 2, 2019. The fashion show was held to greet the upcoming fasting month of Ramadan, the holiest month on the Muslim calendar. (AP Photo/Tatan Syuflana)

Nepalese Hindu women warm themselves around a bonfire after taking a dip in the Sali river during Madhav Narayan festival in Sankhu, northeast of Kathmandu, Nepal, on Jan. 21, 2019. During the festival, devotees recite holy scriptures dedicated to Hindu goddess Swasthani and Lord Shiva. Unmarried women pray to get a good husband while those married pray for the longevity of their husbands by observing a month-long fast. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Nepalese Buddhist monks participate in a parade during Buddha Jayanti, or Buddha Purnima, a festival in Kathmandu, Nepal, on May 18, 2019. The festival marks the triple events of Gautam Buddha’s life: his birth, his enlightenment and his attaining a state of Nirvana that frees believers from the circle of death and rebirth. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

Revelers throw colored powder on a woman during celebrations marking Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, in Mumbai, India, on March 21, 2019. Holi marks the start of Spring. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade)

Russian emergency workers help a young girl into icy water on Epiphany at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Ostankino in Moscow, Russia, on Jan. 18, 2019. Across Russia, the devout and the daring observe the Orthodox Christian feast day of Epiphany by immersing themselves in frigid water through holes cut through the ice of lakes and rivers.  (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

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