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March 5, 2012 Permalink

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)
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