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March 5, 2012

Lathmar Holi festival

Traditionally a rite that celebrates the coming of spring, Holi is marked by joyous participants throwing colored water and powder. In northern Uttar Pradesh, "Lathmar Holi" is celebrated before Holi itself, and while it is a rite of spring there as well, the festival also features another layer of fun rooted in Hindu mythology. Lord Krishna is said to have visited the village of Barsana to tease his consort Radha. Women in the town responded by chasing him away. Today women from Barsana "beat" the men from Krishna's village of Nandgaon with sticks for singing provocative songs and throwing colored powder on them. This year Holi itself will be celebrated throughout India and in other places on March 8. -- Lane Turner (22 photos total)

A man daubed in colored powder smiles as he celebrates "Lathmar Holi" in the village of Nandgaon in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 3, 2012. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters)

People throw colored powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A child pauses as villagers smear themselves with colors during the Lathmar Holi festival at the Nandji Temple in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images) #

An Indian Hindu family watches as a man from Nandgaon is hit with a stick on his shield by a woman from Barsana during Lathmar Holi in Barsana, India on March 2, 2012. According to tradition which has its roots in Hindu mythology men from Lord Krishna's village of Nandgaon are beaten by the women of Barsana, home of Lord Krishna's lover Radha. It is said that Lord Krishna's relatives used to tease Radha and her friends and were beaten by them in return. Even to this day, marriage between the two villages are not permitted. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

A man daubed in colored powder lies on the ground as he celebrates "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

An old man daubed in colored powder celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 2, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A man daubed in colored powder celebrates "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 2, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A man from Nandgaon shouts as he is about to be hit with a stick by a woman from Barsana during Lathmar Holi in Barsana, India on March 2, 2012. According to tradition men from Lord Krishna's village of Nandgaon are beaten by the women of Barsana, home of Lord Krishna's lover Radha. It is said that Lord Krishna's relatives used to tease Radha and her friends and were beaten by them in return. Even to this day, marriage between the two villages are not permitted. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Indian Hindu worshippers are covered in colorful powder thrown on them as they pray at the Radha Rani Temple during Lathmar Holi in Barsana, India on March 2, 2012. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Men throw red powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 2, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

People dance as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" at Barsana in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 2, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Indian Hindu transvestites dance together in the Radha Rani Temple during Lathmar Holi in Barsana, India on March 2, 2012. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Indian villagers smear themselves with color during the Lathmar Holi festival at the Radha Rani temple in Barsana, India on March 2, 2012. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images) #

Women walk with sticks during the Lathmar Holi festival in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. The women of Nandgaon, the hometown of Hindu God Krishna, attack the men from Barsana, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their efforts to put color on them, reciprocating acts performed yesterday in Barsana between the women of that village with the men of Nandgaon as they observe the Lathmar Holi festival. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images) #

Indian villagers smear themselves with color during the Lathmar Holi festival at the Nandji Temple in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images) #

Men drag a boy to the ground to cover him in red water during "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Men throw red powder as they celebrate "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A man throws powder celebrating "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Indian Hindu worshippers pray as others throw colored powder and water on them during Lathmar Holi at Nandagram Temple in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Kevin Frayer/Associated Press) #

Men shield themselves from women playfully beating them with bamboo sticks during "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. In a Holi tradition unique to Nandgaon and Barsana villages, men sing provocative songs to gain the attention of women, who then "beat" them with bamboo sticks called "lathis". (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

Men daubed in powder sing a hymn at a temple during "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #

A boy daubed in powder celebrates "Lathmar Holi" in Nandgaon, India on March 3, 2012. (Adnan Abidi/Reuters) #


 
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