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15 year old Nasoin Akhter poses for a video on the day of her wedding to a 32 year old man in Manikganj, Bangladesh. In June of this year, Human Rights Watch released a damning report about child marriage in Bangladesh. The country has one of the highest rates of child marriage in the world, with 29% of girls marrying before the age of 15, and 65% of girls marrying before they turn 18. The detrimental effects of early marriage on a girl cannot be overstated. Most young brides drop out of school. Pregnant girls from 15-20 are twice as likely to die in childbirth than those 20 or older, while girls under 15 are at five times the risk. Research cites spousal age difference as a significant risk factor for violence and sexual abuse. Child marriage is attributed to both cultural tradition and poverty. Parents believe that it “protects” girls from sexual assault and harassment. Larger dowries are not required for young girls, and economically, women’s earnings are insignificant as compared to men’s.
A Balinese man dances on the fire during the “Mesabatan Api” ritual ahead of Nyepi Day on in Gianyar, Bali, Indonesia. Mesabatan Api is held annually a day before the Nyepi Day of Silence, as it symbolizes the purification of universe and human body through fire. Nyepi is a Hindu celebration observed every New Year according to the Balinese calendar. The national holiday is one of self-reflection and meditation and activities such as working, watching television or traveling are restricted between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m.
Gilles of Binche parade, a UNESCO World Heritage event, is the biggest and the liveliest annual carnival in Belgium.
Bulgarian Pomak Muslims pose in front of their house as a relative throws sweets to the guests during their traditional winter wedding ceremony in the village of Ribnovo, in the Rhodope Mountains
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Dr. Joe Wallace, right, uses a pressure washer to cut years of algae growth off the Eye Spy statues at Silver Springs State Park in Ocala, Florida.
Boys wear horned helmets and body paint for Chonburi’s annual buffalo race, east of Bangkok. The festival, which also celebrates the rice harvest, dates back to the buffalo trade in Chonburi, once the commercial centre of Thailand’s east
Women paint paper replicas of soldier’s hats for the Vu Lan Festival at Dong Ho village, outside Hanoi. Vietnam is celebrating the month-long festival of the hungry ghosts, also known as Vu Lan festival, where many Taoists and Buddhists believe that the living are supposed to please the ghosts by offering them food and burning paper effigies of homes, maids, and other daily items for spirits to use in the afterlife.
The “pachuco” scene in Mexico is thought to date back to the 1930s and 1940s in Los Angeles, where Mexican migrants would wear the snazzy outfits partly as a symbol of defiance against discrimination. The custom’s continuation in Mexico is seen in part as a continuing protest against the treatment of Mexican immigrants north of the border.
A Sikh warrior attends the annual fair of Hola Mohalla in Anandpur Sahib, in the northern Indian state of Punjab. Believers from across northern India celebrate the festival of Holi in a tradition set by the tenth Sikh, guru Guru Gobind Singh, in the 17th century.
A girl and her father dance as they celebrate Holi in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India.
A bride takes part in a mass marriage ceremony in Bhopal, India. Some 45 bridal pairs married during the wedding ceremony organised for underprivileged couples under Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna (Chief Minister Welfare Scheme). Some communities undertake the responsibility of arranging mass marriages for the couples who are financially unsound.
A worshipper wearing a Chinese opera outfit waits to burn incense and pray at the Wong Tai Sin Temple to welcome the lunar new year of the horse in Hong Kong. Tens of thousands of worshippers flocked to temples across Hong Kong to pray for good luck and fortune for the new year.
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Bride Fatme Inus emerges to present herself to villagers towards the end of her two-day wedding to Mustafa Sirakov in Ribnovo, Bulgaria. The practice of painting the bride’s face white and decorating it with sequins and coloured paint called gelena in Bulgarian, is a tradition unique to Ribnovo, dating back centuries. Ribnovo weddings only take place in the winter and the entire village participates with group dances on the main square. Ribnovo, located in the mountains of southern Bulgaria, is predominantly inhabited by Pomaks, a Muslim ethnic minority who are the descendants of Christian Bulgarians who converted to Islam during the Ottoman rule.
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A stall selling masks depicting the devil, and believed to ward off evil if hung outside homes, outside a makeshift shelter on a highway on the outskirts of Hyderabad.
An Indian artist makes effigies of the antagonists in the Hindu epic Ramayana, Ravana, Meghnath and Kumbhkaran in preparation for the upcoming Dussehra festival in Jammu, India. The effigies will be burned at the end of the festival, marking the victory of good over evil.
An artisan works on clay idols of Hindu god Vishwakarma ahead of the festival named after the god in the eastern Indian city of Bhubaneswar.
A woman poses during the annual West Indian Day Parade on Monday in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. The parade is a celebration of Caribbean culture including dance, food, drink and costumes
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Charles Montoya and Chantal LaRue of ‘She Dances With Fait’ pose at the Edinburgh Fringe.
A boy sits on his father’s shoulders between a ‘Kilik’ and a ‘Cabezudo’ during the San Fermin festival Comparsa de gigantes y cabezudo (Parade of the giants and the big heads) in Pamplona on Tuesday.
Huge statues are shown in the early morning at the tomb of King Antiochus on top of Mount Nemrut near Adiyaman, southeastern Anatolia, Turkey. Nemrut (Nemrut Dagi) is a 2,134m high mountain, notable for its tomb, which was probably built for king Antiochus Theos of Kommagene who believed he was a descendant of Apollo in the first part of the first century BC. On two sides of the mountaintop terraces were set up for statues representing Apollo, Fortuna, Heracles and Zeus. The Mount Nemrut ruins were discovered in 1881 and declared a UN World Heritage Site in 1987.