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September 7, 2009

Recent Hindu festivals and rituals

Many Hindus throughout India recently celebrated Ganesha Chaturthi, a 10-day festival celebrating the birth of Ganesh, their supreme god of wisdom, prosperity and good fortune. Hinduism, the predominant religion in India, is rich with traditional festivals and rituals, celebrated in many ways and locations around the world. Collected here are a few photographs from recent Hindu festivals and of Hindu devotees worshipping and practicing ritual ceremonies in India, England, Nepal and Indonesia. (36 photos total)

Hindu devotees carry a statue of the elephant-headed Hindu god Ganesh on a bullock cart during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009. The idols are immersed into oceans or rivers at the end of the ten day long festival that celebrates the birth of Ganesh. (AP Photo/Dhiraj Singh)

Devotees carry a statue of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, for immersion in the sea on the last day of "Ganesh Chaturthi" in Mumbai September 3, 2009. Clay statues of Ganesh are made two to three months before the day of "Ganesh Chaturthi", a popular religious festival in India. The idols are taken through the streets in a procession accompanied by dancing and singing, to be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual see-off of his journey towards his abode in "Kailash", while taking away with him the misfortunes of all mankind. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe) #

Indian Hindu devotees gather with large statues of the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh, before immersing them in the Arabian Sea, on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

Indian Hindu devotees covered in paint stand in front of a large statue of the elephant-headed Hindu God Ganesh, seen in the background, before immersing it in the Arabian Sea, on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

Indian Hindus bring statues of the Hindu God Ganesh for immersion in the Arabian sea on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #

Indian Hindu devotees splash water on a large statue of the Hindu God Ganesh before immersing it in the Arabian Sea on the final day of the festival of Ganesh Chaturthi in Mumbai, India, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Dhiraj Singh) #

A Hindu carries a statue of the Hindu god Ganesh for immersion into the Arabian sea during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in Mumbai, India, Monday, Aug. 24, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajanish Kakade) #

A child dressed as Lord Ganesh, the Living Goddess Kumari Devi looks out from a window before being brought out to the public for display and worship during the Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu September 3, 2009. Nepal's Newar community began celebrating the Hindu festival of Indrajatra with the worship of the Kumari, or "living goddess", and the god of rain, Lord Indra. (REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha) #

Hindu holy men chant mantras and pray in the Varuna Yajna ritual to appease the rain God at the Sankara Mattham in Mumbai on August 26, 2009. Ten priests stood neck deep in water for over 4 hours to perform a special prayers for the arrival of rains. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images) #

A Hindu priest performs morning rituals with a traditional oil lamp on the banks of the River Ganges in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

A Hindu pilgrim feeds a sacred cow at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple, in Watford, north of London, on August 16, 2009, as it holds an open day for pilgrims to celebrate 'Janmashtami' - the birth of Lord Krishna. Over 65,000 pilgrims and guests were expected to visit Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple during the three day festival to celebrate Janmashtami. This year's theme for the Krishna festival is the symbiotic relationship that exists between man, cows and the environment. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

An idol is seen reflected on a mirror as an artist gives final touches to an idol of Hindu goddess Durga for the forthcoming Durga Puja festival in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Sept.1, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

An artist works on an idol of Hindu goddess Durga for the forthcoming Durga Puja festival in Allahabad, India, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

A Hindu devotee gets his mouth pierced as he takes part in an annual religious procession called "Shitla Mata" in the northern Indian city of Chandigarh August 16, 2009. Hindu devotees subject themselves to painful rituals during the religious procession to demonstrate their faith and as a penance to the deity at a temple dedicated to the goddess Shitla. (REUTERS/Ajay Verma) #

Women have their hands decorated with henna on the eve of the Hindu festival of Hariyali Teej, in Allahabad, India, Saturday, August 22, 2009. Hariyali Teej is a fasting festival for Hindu women, celebrated for marital bliss and the wellbeing of their husbands. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

Hindu women take part in a traditional dance at Pashupati Nath Temple during celebrations of the "Teej" festival in Kathmandu August 23, 2009. Married Hindu women wear red bridal dresses to celebrate the Teej festival and pray for a long life and the well-being of their husbands. Unmarried women observe the festival by praying for a good husband. (REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha) #

People in traditional costumes participate in the celebration of the Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu September 3, 2009. Nepal's Newar community began celebrating the Hindu festival of Indrajatra with the worship of the Kumari and the god of rain, Lord Indra. (REUTERS/Gopal Chitrakar) #

Devotees form a human pyramid to reach a clay pot containing butter during the celebrations of "Janmashtami" in Mumbai August 14, 2009. Janmashtami marks the birthday of Hindu Lord Krishna. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe) #

Female devotees form a human pyramid to break a clay pot containing butter during the celebrations of "Janmashtami" in Mumbai August 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe) #

Devotees take a tumble while trying to form a human pyramid to reach a clay pot containing butter during the celebration of "Janmashtami" in Mumbai August 14, 2009. (REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe) #

Hindu devotees offer food to a cow and a calf, and pray as part of the "Pind Daan" rituals performed for the soul of departed ancestors on the banks of the river Ganges in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

Nepalese devotees pull the chariot with living goddess, locally known as the "kumari" during the week-long Indra Jatra festival at Durbar square in Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

Hindu devotees perform rituals at a temple of Hindu God Krishna during Krishna Ashtami festival that marks the birth of Lord Krishna, in Patan, a suburb of Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

A giant mask of a deity, locally known as "Bharaiv", is seen at roadside in Durbar square during the week-long Indra Jatra festival in Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2009. (AP Photo/Binod Joshi) #

Hindu devotees take holy dips as they perform the "Pind Daan" rituals performed for the soul of ancestors in the river Ganges in Allahabad, India, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

A Hindu woman celebrating the Rishi Panchami festival helps her friend to take a holy dip in the Bagmati River in Kathmandu August 24, 2009. During the festival, women worship Sapta Rishi (seven saints) by taking a holy bath, which symbolises the washing off of all the sins and impurity of the whole year. (REUTERS/Shruti Shrestha) #

Indian President Pratibha Patil, seated left, interacts with children during a function marking the Hindu festival of Raksha Bandhan in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009. Raksha Bandhan is a day that celebrates the bond between brothers and sisters. (AP Photo/Presidential Palace) #

Hindu devotees perform rituals on the occasion of Teej, at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati, in Allahabad, India, Sunday, Aug. 23, 2009. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #

Hindu devotees gather during "Gokarna Aunsi" at Gokarneshwar temple at Gokarna, a suburb of Katmandu, Nepal, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2009. On this auspicious day, Nepalese Hindus gather at the shrine of Lord Shiva to perform anniversary rituals in memory of their departed fathers. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

Hindu pilgrims pray in the main temple at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple, in Watford, north of London, on August 16, 2009, as it holds an open day for pilgrims to celebrate 'Janmashtami' - the birth of Lord Krishna. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hindu pilgrims carry a life size model of the late Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada at the Bhaktivedanta Manor Krishna Temple, in Watford, north of London, on August 16, 2009, as it holds an open day for pilgrims to celebrate 'Janmashtami' - the birth of Lord Krishna. (BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images) #

An artisan gives finishing touches to an idol of Hindu snake god Mansa at a workshop in the eastern Indian city of Siliguri August 16, 2009. Hindus across India and Bangladesh will be celebrating the "Nagpanchami" festival by worshipping snakes on Monday. (REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri) #

Thousands of Tenggerese tribespeople climb up the holy Mount Bromo in Probolinggo, East Java, on September 6, 2009, during the Hindu Yadnya Kasada festival. During the annual Yadnya Kasada festival the Tenggerese climb Mount Bromo, an active volcano, and seek the blessing from the main deity Hyang Widi Wasa by presenting offerings of rice, fruit, livestock and other local produce. (Mochammad RISYAL HIDAYAT/AFP/Getty Images) #

Hindu worshippers pray during the Kasada festival at Mount Bromo in Indonesia's East Java province September 6, 2009. Villagers and worshippers throw offerings into the volcanic crater of Mount Bromo during the festival to give thanks to the Hindu gods for ensuring their safety and prosperity. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas (INDONESIA SOCIETY) #

Local villagers try to catch a chicken thrown by Hindu worshippers into the crater of Mount Bromo during Kasada festival in Probolinggo, East java, Indonesia, Sunday, Sept. 6, 2009. Every year people gathered for the annual festival where offerings of rice, fruit, vegetables, livestock or money are made to Hindu gods at the active volcano to ask for blessings and assure a bountiful harvest. (AP Photo/Trisnadi) #

A villager carries a lamb he retrieved after it was thrown by worshippers into a volcanic crater during a ritual to mark the Kasada festival at Mount Bromo in Indonesia's East Java province September 6, 2009. (REUTERS/Sigit Pamungkas) #

 
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