Holi 2013: India’s Festival Of Colors [PHOTOS]

  @MarkJohansonIBT on March 26 2013 11:45 PM

 

Thick clouds of neon color arrived at villages across India this week -- a telltale sign that the 2013 Holi Festival had begun.

Wednesday marked the official start of Holi, but India’s most flamboyant festival has an early showing each year in two small villages in Uttar Pradesh where tinted powder flies through the air for Lathmar Holi.

The colorful celebration has its roots in Hindu mythology. It's said that darker-skinned Krishna was jealous of fair-skinned Radha and pestered his foster mother Yashoda about it so much that she told him he could change Radha's skin by dousing her in colors.

Thus, each spring Holi revelers hurl neon powder (known as gulal) and colored water into the air, tie-dying participants into spirographs of color. The vibrant hues are said to represent energy, life, joy and the coming of spring.

Celebrants light huge bonfires to ward off evil spirits and commemorate the victory of good over evil on the eve of Holi. On the day of the main event, men typically wear white kurtas, while ladies don white saris or shalwar kameez. Of course, these clothes don't stay white for long. Children have free range to smear colors on friends and neighbors while adults toss dyed water and gulal in a riot of color.

Here’s a look at some of the early celebrations:

Holi 2013

People throw coloured powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Nandgaon village in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 22, 2013. Reuters

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Hindu devotees covered in coloured water and powder sit in a temple during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 22, 2013. Reuters

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A boy sprays coloured foam during Holi celebrations in a lane near the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 26, 2013. Reuters

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Women throw flowers into the air during a holi celebration at the Meera Sahavagini ashram in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 24, 2013. Reuters

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Hindu devotees walk around a bonfire during a ritual known as "Holika Dahan" as part of Holi celebrations in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 26, 2013. Reuters

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A student of Rabindra Bharati University reacts as her fellow students apply coloured powder to her face during celebrations for Holi, also known as the festival of colours in Kolkata March 22, 2013. Reuters

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A boy poses for a picture with a water gun during holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 26, 2013. Reuters

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People raise their hands to receive coloured holy water from a priest during celebrations for Holi, also known as the festival of colours, in Jammu March 24, 2013. Reuters

Holi Festival 2013

A tourist celebrates after finishing first in a turban tying competition held as part of the celebrations of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, in Jaipur, the capital of India's desert state of Rajasthan, March 26, 2013. Reuters

Holi Festival 2013

Boys spray coloured foam during Holi celebrations at a lane near the Bankey Bihari temple in Vrindavan, in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 26, 2013. Reuters

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A group of women beat a man holding a shield over his head with sticks during "Lathmar Holi" at the village of Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh March 21, 2013. Reuters

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