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AP PHOTOS: Indian widows celebrate Holi despite tradition

AP PHOTOS: Indian widows, traditionally shunted aside, join riotous spring festival of Holi

In this Tuesday, March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Sima Chohan, 40, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram i...
In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Uma, 65, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini ...
In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Kalani Dashi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sah...
In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Oruna poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini Wid...

India Widows and Colors Photos Gallery

In this Tuesday, March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Sima Chohan, 40, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram i...

India Widows and Colors Photos Gallery

In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Uma, 65, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini ...

India Widows and Colors Photos Gallery

In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Kalani Dashi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sah...

India Widows and Colors Photos Gallery

In this March 3, 2015 photo, Hindu widow Oruna poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini Wid...

VRINDAVAN, India (AP) -- Indian tradition says a widow will spend her life in seclusion, mourning her husband and avoiding public gatherings. If she comes to a wedding, she is thought to bring bad luck to the family. If she comes to a birth ceremony, she brings bad luck to the baby.

After her husband dies, she will wear only white, Hinduism's color of mourning. As much as she can, she will live a life without color.

So when Holi arrives, the festival of spring and India's riotous annual celebration of color, when friends and strangers shower one another with colored water and bright powders, she is supposed to disappear into the background.

Then there is Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widows Ashram, a shelter for widows abandoned by their families, in this city of temples where widows have long been dropped off and forgotten.

In that ashram, hundreds of widows gathered Tuesday to experience what they are not supposed to: Joy. Organized by an Indian aid agency, Sulabh International, the gathering was a way to let the women celebrate their lives, and to show that losing a husband doesn't mean losing one's life.

Color was everywhere. On the women's faces, in their hair, coating their clothes.

For once, white was hard to find.


Updated : 2021-09-18 10:48 GMT+08:00