One of the prettiest festivals around, Holi celebrates the end of winter, along with good harvests and fertile land. Traditionally, the celebration marks a loosening of social custom. Practically, this means people throw paint at anyone and everyone.
This year's Holi has been marred with a couple of problems though. For one, a chemical in the paint has put at least 200 people in the hospital with allergic reactions - they report wooziness and nausea, though so far all symptoms have been treatable (on the bright side, some Holi paint distributors have pledged to go green). Two boys were run over by a taxi while celebrating. Bollywood's superstars are no longer celebrating - allegedly, they are working too hard to take the time off. And even water is tight. Unlike previous years, the city will not be providing additional opportunities to clean up. According to DNA India:
Mumbaikars will have to use water sparingly this Holi as the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided not to supply additional water on the festival day. The decision was taken to cultivate a habit of using water judiciously amongst city residents, said a senior civic official.
“Until 2010, the BMC would supply 10 percent additional water on Holi day. However, extra supply was not made in 2011 for the first time and instead 15 percent cut was imposed. Though all the six lakes providing water to the city are full, we will not pump additional water to see people use it judiciously,” a senior civic official said, requesting anonymity.
And, just in case you're inspired to partake - a couple of tips of how to keep your skin in good shape during the festival.
All photos by Adnan Abidi/Reuters