India Ushers in Spring with Colors of Holi

Kshitij Nagar
New Delhi

A shopkeeper measures out colored powder for a customer at his shop in Old Delhi as the city prepares to celebrate the Holi festival. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]


Colored powders are on display in the Old Delhi shop. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]


A shopkeeper demonstrates a squirt gun on the eve of the festival in New Delhi. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]


A group celebrates Holi in the streets of New Delhi, March 24, 2016. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]


A man flings a powder “bomb” while a woman ducks for cover at a temple in Old Delhi. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]


Hundreds of devotees celebrate Holi at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana, Uttar Pradesh state, March 24, 2016. [Achal Mishra]


A woman recites mantras as thousands celebrate Holi at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana. [Achal Mishra]


A devotee flings colored water on devotees gathered to celebrate Holi at the Radha Rani Temple in Barsana. [Achal Mishra]


A woman celebrates Holi in a temple complex in Old Delhi. [Kshitij Nagar/ Benar News]

Many parts of northern Indian just celebrated Holi, an annual Hindu festival of colors that ushers in the arrival of spring.

The two-day festival began Wednesday night (March 23) with singing around a traditional bonfire and continued into Thursday (March 24) with celebrations where participants smeared each other with colored powders and water.

More traditional forms of Holi are celebrated across the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh. Celebrations can last up to seven days in Barsana, Nandgaon and Mathura, the last known as the birthplace of the Hindu deity Krishna.

“This is amazing, I’ve never seen anything like this. I really wish we had more festivals like this is the west,” Cole Anderson, a travel photographer visiting the site of celebrations in Barsana, told BenarNews.

More recently, the festival has seen a push toward celebrating with more traditional colors made from dried flowers and herbs.

“I’ve been trying to promote herbal colors with all my customers for the past four years or so,” said Ashok Jagdeep, a shopkeeper in Old Delhi.

“This year, finally, I am seeing a huge demand for them. I am happy as I personally feel we should go back to ways of celebrating Holi as it was in ancient times,” he told BenarNews.

Elsewhere, Asha Mishra, a consultant with a multinational firm in Gurgaon, took to Delhi streets to promote what she called a “dry Holi.”

“I’ve taken an off day from my work for the past three days, just so that I can encourage people into not wasting too much water while celebrating Holi,” she said.


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