Holi, often called the festival of colors, is a spring religious festival celebrated by Hindus where people throw coloured powder and coloured water at each other and make merry. The festival is primarily observed in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and any country where there are large Indic populations.
The tradition of playing with colours on Holi draws its roots from a legend of Radha and the Hindu God Krishna. It is believed that young Lord Krishna was jealous of Radha's fair complexion. After questioning his mother Yashoda on the darkness of his complexion, Yashoda, teasingly asked him to colour Radha's face in which ever colour he wanted. In a mischievous mood, Lord Krishna applied colour on Radha's face, hence the tradition of applying color.
Below are pictures snapped yesterday on the eve of Holi in different parts of the world.
Devotees at the Swaminarayan Temple celebrate the Holi festival of colours with Indian heir to the Swaminarayan Temple, Lalji Maharaj Shri Vrajendraprasdaji Maharaj (unseen) at Swaminarayan Temple in Kalupur, Ahmedabad.
People apply coloured powder to a woman's face as they celebrate Holi, also known as the festival of colours, in Ahmedabad March 19, 2011.
Revelers celebrate the Indian festival of Holi on the deck of the ship Peking at South Street Seaport in Manhattan in New York City.
Indian women play with coloured powder during festivities marking Holi in Calcutta, India.
Pakistani Hindu children celebrate Holi at Swami Narain Temple in Karachi.
A Hindu devotee coloured by powder prostrates himself at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, about 140 kilometers from New Delhi, India. Vrindavan is a famous place for Holi celebrations, where according to legend, the Hindu god Krishna played Holi with his consort Radha.
People react after getting splashed by a bucket of water while celebrating the festival of Holi in Kathmandu.
Children smear coloured powder on each other during festivities marking Holi in Gauhati, India.
Photos: GETTY IMAGES / AP / REUTERS
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