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Hindus celebrate Navratri as Muslims undertake hajj
Monday, October 14th, 2013

Two of the world's largest religious populations observed important celebrations over the weekend.

Muslims began their annual pilgrimage, or hajj, on Sunday. The journey from Mecca is one of the five pillars of Islam that every capable Muslim must complete once in their lifetime. This year, around 1.5 million Muslims gathered at Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia to pray. Some said they prayed for peace and an end to bloodshed.

Meanwhile, Hindus celebrated the Navaratri festival honoring the goddess Durga. The celebration, also known as Durga Puja, spans nine days and involves food, dancing, and new clothes. Some Hindu devotees fast and offer prayers during the festival, which marks Durga's triumph over a demon.

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Thousands of Indian Hindu devotees light candles in the form of the "Aum" religious symbol during a Maha Arti (Mass Prayer) on the eighth night of ongoing Navratri in Gandhinagar, some 30 kms from Ahmedabad, on late October 12, 2013.

(AFP - AFP/Getty Images)
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Muslim piligrims pray on Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, one day ahead of the hajj main ritual, on October 13, 2013. Vast crowds of Muslim pilgrims, all dressed in white, flock from early morning to Mount Arafat, in western Saudi Arabia, to take part in the main rituals of the annual hajj.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Nepalese Hindu devotees offer prayers by rolling on the ground after performing a bathing ritual at the biggest Hindu festival, Dashain (Durga Puja), in Bhaktapur on the outskirts of Kathmandu on October 14, 2013.

(PRAKASH MATHEMA - AFP/Getty Images)
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Muslim pilgrims rest as others climb Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the hajj main ritual, on October 14, 2013. Pilgrims in their hundreds of thousands thronged Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia from early morning for the climax of the annual hajj pilgrimage, arriving on foot, by train or in vehicles.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Muslim pilgrims read from a copy of the Koran as the pray on Mount Arafat, near the holy city of Mecca, ahead of the hajj main ritual, on October 14, 2013.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE - AFP/Getty Images)
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Indian Bengali women greet each other by applying Sindoor, an indication of being married, to their faces during The Dussehra-Vijaya Dashami Festival in Hyderabad on October 14, 2013, on the final day of Durga Puja.

(NOAH SEELAM - AFP/Getty Images)
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Muslim hajj pilgrims hold umbrellas to protect themselves from the sun prior to performing noon prayers at the Namira mosque near Mount Arafat on October 14, 2013. Some 1.5 million Muslim pilgrims thronged Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia for the high point of the annual hajj, praying for an end to disputes and bloodshed.

(FAYEZ NURELDINE - AFP/Getty Images)
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A fire-breather performs as Indonesians parade with drums and torches on the eve of Eid al-Adha festivities in the capital city of Jakarta on October 14, 2013.

(ROMEO GACAD - AFP/Getty Images)
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