Revellers play with colored powder during a celebration of the Holi festival in New Delhi, India, March 8, 2023. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
by Peerzada Arshad Hamid
NEW DELHI, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Millions of Indians, mostly Hindus, celebrated the Holi festival on Wedensday across the South Asian country with religious fervor and gaiety.
The ancient Indian festival marks the end of winter and the onset of the spring season. Holi, or the festival of colors, signifies the victory of good over evil.
Participants gathered outside their houses in jubilation, holding colored powder in plates and smearing them on each other to express love and affection.
"The festival holds great cultural significance for us, representing a fresh beginning and offering us the chance to reconcile relationships and begin anew," Atul Kulkarni, a Holi reveller said. "Apart from throwing colors, we offer prayers and burn a bonfire in the evening to symbolically destroy the bad so that the good can triumph."
As India's merriest festival, Holi is celebrated by throwing bright colored water or powder at each other.
People, including young and old, women and children, were seen splashing and smearing colored powder on each other, besides exchanging pleasantries.
Color-splattered teenagers and young adults happily strolled along roads and streets, tossing pigments and pelting one another with balloons filled with hues.
Reports pouring in from major cities and towns of India said huge congregations were held to mark the festival, where people hued in colors danced and sang to the tunes of Bollywood numbers and the beats of drums.
Many people were taking selfies with their mobile phones to save the colorful moments during the celebrations.
The major events took place in Mathura in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, the birthplace of the Hindu god Krishna.
Celebrations started 40 days ahead of the main Holi festival in the city.
Holi is most popular with young and grown-up children, who begin the colorful celebrations days ahead of the main fete. On the eve of Holi, elderly people also join in.
During Holi, revellers consider everyone to be a suitable target for play. "We apply color to whosoever comes across as the rule is 'Don't feel bad it's Holi'," said Sumit, another Holi reveller.
The social networking websites on the internet were abuzz with Holi greetings and colorful pictures.
People also wished each other by sending Holi messages and animated graphics interchange format on their mobile phones.
Indian President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi also greeted people on Holi and extended their wishes to them.
Every Holi festivity in India is associated with the special food that is prepared to celebrate the event. People prepare special meals, sweets and other dishes for the festival. Even some people take the traditional Holi drink, a beverage made by mixing fresh cannabis leaves with sweetened almond milk.
Meanwhile, Indian Railways is running 491 trips of 196 special trains for the convenience of rail travellers and to clear extra rush of passengers on Holi.
According to railway officials, crowd control measures have been put in place at the railway stations and additional Railway Protection Force personnel have been deployed at major stations to ensure the security of passengers and ensure the smooth running of trains.
Women smeared with colored powder take selfies during a celebration of the Holi festival in New Delhi, India, March 8, 2023. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)
A man is smeared with colored powder during a celebration of the Holi festival in New Delhi, India, March 8, 2023. (Xinhua/Javed Dar)