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March 13, 2009

Holi - the Festival of Colors

Last Wednesday (March 11th), people in India and other countries with large Hindu populations celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors. Holi is celebrated as a welcoming of Spring, and a celebration of the triumph of good over evil. What that translates to in action is an enthusiastic dropping of inhibitions, as people chase each other and playfully splash colorful paint, powder and water on each other. People also attend bonfires to commemorate the story of Prahlada, a Hindu figure and devout follower of Lord Vishnu who prevailed over his father and the demoness Holika with the power of his devotion. Collected here are photos from this year's Festival of Colors. (27 photos total)

Men smear colored powder on each other's faces during celebrations of Holi, the Hindu festival of color, in Jaisalmer, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, Wednesday March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)

Colored powder is thrown on a girl during Holi celebrations in the southern Indian city of Chennai, India on March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Babu) #

Women tear off the clothes of men as they play huranga in Dauji temple near the northern Indian town of Mathura March 12, 2009. Huranga is a game played between men and women a day after the Holi festival during which men drench women with liquid colors and women tear off the clothes of the men. (REUTERS/K.K. Arora) #

People smear colored powder on each other during Holi celebrations in the northern Indian city of Amritsar March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Munish Sharma) #

Sadhus or holy men with painted faces sing songs as they celebrate Holi on banks of the Ganga in the northern Indian city of Allahabad March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash) #

Students holding paint powder of various colors pose as they celebrate Holi, the Indian festival of colors, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Amit Dave) #

Children pour colored water on a tourist during celebrations of Holi, the Hindu festival of color, in Jaisalmer, in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, Wednesday March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) #

A girl with a colored face reacts as she is drenched during Holi celebrations in Kolkata March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw) #

A man cleans a huge pan for celebration of "Hola Mohalla" at Anandpur Sahib in the northern Indian state of Punjab March 11, 2009. "Hola Mohalla" or the festival of Nihangs is celebrated during the Hindu religious festival of Holi, marking the congregation of Sikh devotees from all over the country. (REUTERS/Ajay Verma) #

Revellers take part in Holi celebrations in the northern Indian city of Allahabad March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash) #

Girls react after colored powder is thrown on them during Holi celebrations in the southern Indian city of Chennai March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Babu) #

A boy with a painted face looks into the camera during Holi celebrations in Kolkata March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw) #

A woman reacts as 'gulal' or colored powder is thrown on her during Holi celebrations held for the Bollywood fraternity in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh) #

The eye of a student, smeared in colors, is seen during the celebrations of the Holi, in Chandigarh, India on March 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Ajay Verma) #

Students smear each other with colored powder during the celebrations of Holi, in Kolkata, India on March 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Jayanta Shaw) #

Young men, faces smeared with color, look on as they celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, in Calcutta, India, Wednesday March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Bikas Das) #

People smear brightly-colored powder on a man as they celebrate Holi in the northern Indian city of Mathura March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/K.K. Arora) #

Revellers raise their hands as colored water is poured on them during Holi celebrations in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Amit Dave) #

Nihangs, or Sikh warriors, apply colored powder to each other during celebrations of "Hola Mohalla" at Anandpur Sahib in the northern Indian state of Punjab March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Ajay Verma) #

Physically handicapped children celebrate Holi, India's festival of colors at the Society for the Education of the Crippled in Mumbai March 9, 2009. (REUTERS/Arko Datta) #

Indian Hindu women watch a ritualistic bonfire that marks the beginning of Holi in Mumbai, India on March 10, 2009. Hindus across the country light bonfires with old wood, sticks, branches and leaves, as one of the most important ceremonies during the Holi festival, which symbolises the victory of good over evil. (REUTERS/Arko Datta) #

Purple-colored water is sprayed on revellers during Holi celebrations in the northeastern Indian city of Guwahati March 11, 2009. (REUTERS/Utpal Baruah) #

A man holds his son as they watch a ritual bonfire that marks the beginning of Holi in Mumbai March 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Arko Datta) #

People wade through a cloud of colored powder while celebrating the Hindu festival of Holi at Nand Gaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, March 6, 2009. (REUTERS/K. K. Arora) #

Children with their faces painted look into the camera while they celebrate Holi in the northern Indian city of Allahabad March 10, 2009. (REUTERS/Jitendra Prakash) #

A drunken young man sings as he celebrates Holi in New Delhi, India, Wednesday, March 11, 2009.(AP Photo/Mustafa Quraishi) #

A boy reacts as his face is smeared with colored powder by many others during Holi, in Calcutta, India, Wednesday March 11, 2009. (AP Photo/Sucheta Das) #

 
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