'Tis the Season: For Bright, Colorful Holiday Festivals

Image via RNS/Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

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.

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Darren Staples

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Rupak De Chowdhuri

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.

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Amir Cohen

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Abed Omar Qusini

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.

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

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 paper lanterns, and some people light fireworks.

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Image via RNS/Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

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.

Via Religion News Service.

Sally Morrow joined Religion News Service in March 2012 as Photo/Multimedia Editor. She is a photographer and editor based in Kansas City, Mo.

Jerome Socolovsky is Editor-in-Chief of RNS.

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