Diwali Around the World

As we move into winter, India’s biggest holiday lights the way with a celebration of light over darkness. Light a candle, and join us on a tour of Diwali around the world.

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Israel: Sukkot
Israel: Sukkot

Israel: Sukkot

Sukkot (Feast of Booths or Feast of Tabernacles) is a biblical holiday celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Tishrei, which is between late September and late October. On this special occasion, Jewish people reflect on how the Israelites felt during their 40 years of travel in the desert after the exodus from slavery in Egypt, as referenced in the Bible. The 7-day tradition includes special prayer services and holiday meals. 960 1280

Reuters  

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canada: Jour de l'Action de Grâce

Canadians celebrate Jour de l'Action de Grâce, aka Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October. Similar to the American Thanksgiving, people in Canada reserve this time to celebrate the harvest and other blessing of the past year. And Canucks enjoy a good feast, too. During the holiday weekend, most families have the big Thanksgiving meal on Sunday or on Monday. 960 1280

Monkey Business Images  

Korea: Chuseok

Korea: Chuseok

Chuseok, a major harvest festival and 3-day holiday in Korea, is celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Koreans return to their hometowns to perform traditional rituals in the morning to remember their ancestors. Family members also visit and clean up the area around the tombs of their immediate ancestors, before offering food, drink and crops to their lost loved ones. Japchae, bulgogi and songpyeon (a crescent-shaped rice cake) are popular foods prepared during the holiday. 960 1280

riNux, Flickr  

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

Vietnam: Tết Trung Thu Festival

In Vietnam, people celebrate the Tết Trung Thu Festival (Mid-Autumn Festival) in September or in early October. This fall celebration is also known as the Children’s Festival. The Vietnamese believe children are symbols of innocence and purity -- the closest connection to the sacred and natural world. Children light lanterns and perform lion dances as part of the celebration. This is the second most important holiday tradition in Vietnam. 960 1280

Viethavvh, Wikimedia Commons  

UK: London's Harvest Festival

UK: London's Harvest Festival

Locals and tourists with “green thumbs” converge on London to stroll through the city’s Harvest Festival in October. Organized by the Royal Horticultural Society, this festival has several fun activities including the Fruit & Vegetable Competition, which highlights the UK’s best growers and their best produce. Gardening tips, apple tasting and a giant pumpkin contest are other featured events held during the 2-day festival. 960 1280

Reuters  

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ghana: Homowo Festival

Ga people celebrate Homowo, a festival to commemorate the pre-colonial famine that occurred in Ghana. The festival starts in May during the planting of the crops -- just before the rainy season begins. The celebration includes marching in the streets with drums, face painting, singing and performing traditional dances, like the Kpanlogo. 960 1280

Reuters  

Germany: Erntedankfest

Germany: Erntedankfest

Although it’s not an official holiday, Germans celebrate Erntedankfest (The Harvest of Thanks) on the first Sunday in October. Usually a church-organized celebration, this harvest festival includes several fun activities including a Thanksgiving parade and carnival with elaborate decorations made from harvested fruits and vegetables. 960 1280

madle-fotowelt.de, flickr  

China: August Moon Festival

China: August Moon Festival

Celebrated in China, the August Moon Festival is a 1,000-year-old tradition for the Chinese to reflect on the bounty of the summer harvest, the fullness of the moon and the myth of the immortal goddess, Chang O, who lives in the moon. Millions of Mooncakes -- flaky, round, semi-sweet pastries -- are given as gifts during this celebration. The festival is often thought of as “Chinese Thanksgiving” because of its spirit of gratitude and abundant food. 960 1280

Shizhao, Wikimedia Commons  

India: Pongal

India: Pongal

Pongal is a 4-day festival celebrated January 12th through the 15th, to mark the beginning of the end of the winter season in India. The second day, Surya Pongal, is the most important day of the festival. On this day, people throw their old clothes into the fire, have an oil massage and then wear new clothes, to worship Surya, the sun god. During the festival, cattle are bathed, dressed and served pongal (rice boiled in milk), women of the house perform puja for the prosperity of their brothers, and families decorate their floor with decorative patterns using rice flour. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Barbados: Crop Over

Barbados: Crop Over

The Crop Over, a traditional harvest festival in Barbados, features singing, dancing, climbing a greased pole, feasting, drinking competitions and a calypso music competition. The celebration starts in June and ends on the first Monday in August. With street parties, craft markets, food tents, Crop Over has evolved into Barbados’ biggest national festival -- similar to Carnival in Brazil and Trinidad. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Photos

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rotterdam, Netherlands

New Year's Eve fireworks illuminate the sky over the Erasmus Bridge crossing the Nieuwe Maas River in Rotterdam, the second largest city in the Netherlands.. 960 1280

Reuters  

Berlin

Berlin

An explosion of fireworks light up the Quadriga sculpture atop the Brandenburg Gate during a New Year's Eve party in Berlin. 960 1280

Reuters/Tobias Schwarz  

New York City

New York City

At NYC’s Times Square, confetti rains down on thousands of revelers celebrate the beginning of a new year at the stroke of midnight. 960 1280

Reuters/ Kena Betancur   

Vienna, Austria

Vienna, Austria

People stroll down the Silvesterpfad aka New Year’s Eve Trail at Stephansplatz during New Year's Eve celebrations in Vienna. 960 1280

Reuters/Lisi Niesner   

Sydney

Sydney

Fireworks explode above the Sydney Harbor Bridge and Opera House. Thousands of people lined the harbor to watch the country's biggest fireworks show. 960 1280

Reuters  

Toronto

Toronto

Spectators can watch the fireworks explode over Toronto's waterfront, one of the best New Year's Eve celebrations in the world. 960 1280

Reuters  

Binghamton, NY

Binghamton, NY

People converge on the streets in Binghamton, NY, to ring in the New Year at the Annual First Night Parade. 960 1280

Image by JDanvers through Creative Commons License  

Scotland

Scotland

Two New Year revelers kiss as they take part in the Edinburgh Hogmanay street party celebrations in Edinburgh, Scotland. Edinburgh's 4-day festival includes a torchlight procession, street party, resolution concert and more. 960 1280

Reuters  

Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro

Fireworks explode above Copacabana beach in Rio de Janeiro. More than 2 million people gather along Rio's most famous beach to witness the 15-minute fireworks display and celebrate the New Year. 960 1280

Reuters  

Egypt

Egypt

Thousands of people flock to an amazing concert held in front of the 4,500-year-old pyramids in Egypt. A popular artist uses his techno-wizardry to entertain spectators from sunset to sunrise at the Millennium New Year's celebration. 960 1280

Reuters  

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

Revellers take part in New Year celebrations in Hong Kong's Times Square. 960 1280

Reuters  

London

London

Fireworks explode behind The Big Ben clock tower during New Year celebrations in London. 960 1280

Reuters  

Paris

Paris

Thousands of revellers celebrate the New Year on the Champs Elysees in Paris. 960 1280

Reuters  

Prague

Prague

Local residents and foreign tourists celebrate New Year's Eve at the Old Town Square in Prague, Czech Republic. 960 1280

Getty  

Moscow

Moscow

Fireworks explode over St. Basil Cathedral at Red Square during New Year's Day celebrations in Moscow. 960 1280

Reuters  

London

London

Father Christmas and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowds during Harrods’ Annual Christmas Parade in London. 960 1280

Steve Finn/Harrods via Getty Images  

Kanagawa, Japan

Kanagawa, Japan

Santa Claus has no boundaries when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. He swims with a dolphin at Yokohama Hakkeijima Sea Paradise in Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. 960 1280

Junko Kimura/Getty Images  

Washington, DC

Washington, DC

Santa Claus must be equipped to travel through all types of weather. In this case, St. Nicholas dons water skis to glide across the Potomac River at the National Harbor. Through the magic of modern technology, it’s amazing how someone with a camera always happens to snap a photo of Santa’s daring waterskiing adventure on Christmas Eve each year. 960 1280

Mark Wilson/Getty Images  

Stavropol, Russia

Stavropol, Russia

Father Frost, aka Santa Claus, and his granddaughter Snegurochka the Snowmaid (center) visit a city park to meet and entertain residents in Stavropol, a city in southern Russia. Russians traditionally celebrate the coming of the New Year on December 31 and Orthodox Christmas in January. 960 1280

Reuters/Eduard Korniyenko  

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Krasnoyarsk, Russia

A child and Father Frost pet an Evenki reindeer at the Christmas Food Fair in Krasnoyarsk, Russia. Peasants, farmers, fishermen and hunters sell their crafts, goods and products at the city’s annual fair. 960 1280

Reuters/Ilya Naymushin  

Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii

In Honolulu, HI, Santa Claus throws up the customary "shaka" sign from his canoe while sharing a wave with a surfer near Waikiki Beach. 960 1280

Reuters  

New York City

New York City

Dozens of Santas ring their bells while marching through Midtown Manhattan during the Volunteers of America's Annual Sidewalk Santa Parade. Fifty fully-suited Santas take to the streets of Manhattan the morning after Thanksgiving to raise money for those in need. 960 1280

Reuters/Adrees Latif  

Cook, Australia

Cook, Australia

Santa Claus poses in front of the Great Southern Railway’s Indian Pacific, in Cook, Australia. The train makes a 2,704-mile trip between Sydney and Perth twice a week -- crossing the world's longest stretch of straight railway track on the Nullarbor Plain. 960 1280

Ashlee Ralla/Getty Images  

Valparaiso, Chile

Valparaiso, Chile

Santa waves to people from a boat along the coast of Valparaiso, about 75 miles northwest of Santiago, Chile. Every year, fishermen in Valparaiso organize a Santa Claus boat trip to bring Christmas gifts and well wishes to people waiting on the shore. 960 1280

Reuters/Eliseo Fernandez  

Seoul, South Korea

Seoul, South Korea

In Seoul, South Korea, postmen dress up as Santa Claus and ride motorcycles to deliver the mail. Christmas has become increasingly popular over the years in South Korea, which is the only East Asian country to recognize Christmas as a national holiday. 960 1280

Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images  

Yenisei River, Russia

Yenisei River, Russia

Along Russia’s Yenisei River, Santa can be spotted traveling on self-made water skis made of plastic foam. The sticks are designed to propel ole St. Nick forward. 960 1280

Reuters/Ilya Naymushin  

Manila, Philippines

Manila, Philippines

Santa -- also a professional diver -- gestures at a visitor inside a giant aquarium as part of a Christmas celebration at the Manila Ocean Park. The Philippines, a mainly Roman Catholic country in Southeast Asia, prepares for Christmas early. In fact, shopping malls begin playing Christmas carols in September, while the decorations, including lanterns and fireworks, go up in early December. 960 1280

Reuters/Romeo Ranoco  

Venice, Italy

Venice, Italy

Santa Claus distributes candy from a special Christmas gondola in the canal city of Venice, Italy. 960 1280

Reuters  

Klampenborg, Denmark

Klampenborg, Denmark

More than 150 people donning Santa suits converge on Bakken amusement park in Sweden to attend the World Santa Claus Congress. Bakken, the world’s oldest operating amusement park is located near Klampenborg, Denmark. 960 1280

Reuters/Casper Christoffersen  

Gallivare, Sweden

Gallivare, Sweden

Santas from Sweden (right) and Spain (left) race on their sleighs during a competition in the Santa Claus Winter Games in Gallivare, a town in northern Sweden. Santas from all over the world compete in typical Santa sports, including chimney climbing, porridge eating, kick sledding and reindeer racing. 960 1280

Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski Odly