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Festival of colors grips India

Spring has officially arrived in India. Yesterday, March 21, a colorful celebration was held to herald the arrival of spring - the Lathmar Holi Festival.

Thousands of Hindus travelled to the small villages of Nandgaon and Barsana in the Northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to throw colorful powders at each other.

Tradition is that during Lathmar Holi the women of Barsana beat the men from Nandgaon, the hometown of Krishna, with wooden sticks in response to their teasing as they depart the town.

The tradition of playing with colors on Holi draws its roots from a legend of Radha and the Hindu God Krishna.

The festival is a prelude to the major national Holi Spring Festival - known as the Festival of Colors. During the event participants cover each other with brightly colored dyes and millions of flower petals.

According to legend, Lord Krishna visited his childhood friend, Radha, in the village on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. The women responded by chasing him away with sticks.

In the festival men in traditional dress take on the role of gops (friends of Krishna), while women play gopis (friends of Radha).

The festival is a show of love, fun and equality, and its participants believe, that even the gods descend to watch.

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