What better way to celebrate the coming of spring than by dousing all your closest friends and neighbours with splashy colours, perfume and powder?
That's what happens during Holi, a Hindu religious festival that coincides with the start of the new season, and is widely observed in India - and doesn't hold back when it comes to expressions of joy.
With bonfires and a general loosening of social norms added to the practice of pelting people with dye and other items, Holi celebrations are a feast of colour, action and abandon.
The Boston Globe has published a photo essay of some of the most outstanding images from this year's celebrations, including from the earlier Lathmar Holi festivities in Uttar Pradesh in northern India. (The official Holi day this year is March 8.) Below are some selections from the Globe's always impressive Big Picture series, interspersed with some "Tips for a Safe Holi", as published by India's Hindustan Times :
"Try and play with only natural colours. Not only are they safer, they are also easier to get off once the festivities are over."
"Make sure that your face is well creamed before and after the play, your nails covered with nail paint to protect them, and your hair well oiled. You can also apply oil on your body. It protects you from harmful colours and the slippery coat also makes you difficult to catch!"
"Since it is almost impossible to save your face from an attack of colours on Holi, keep your eyes and lips tightly closed."
"Wear your oldest clothes, and try to wear full-sleeved T-shirts or shirts and leggings that cover your legs."
"When travelling keep the car windows shut, and try to stay at a safe distance from mobs with colours."
"Do not use permanent dyes. If someone has applied it on you, use good quality cleansing milk for removal."
"Play with eggs if you must, but avoid mud, stones, tar, shoe polish etc."
"If you are prone to skin allergies, avoid playing with gulal altogether."
"Avoid running or jumping on wet floors."
Images via The Boston Globe, credited to Adnan Abidi/Reuters; Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images; Kevin Frayer/Associated Press.
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