People in India have gathered to celebrate the ‘festival of love’ despite the number of coronavirus cases exceeding 60,000.
The numbers are the highest the country has reported since October, with a total of 11.91 million cases. The death toll rose by 291, bringing the total death toll to 161,240.
Despite the increasing cases, people gathered in Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, to celebrate Holi, an ancient Hindu festival celebrating the eternal and divine love of Radha and Krishna.
The celebration also means the triumph of good over evil, the arrival of spring and the end of winter where people can gather
Also known as the ‘festival of colors’ and the ‘festival of spring’, the celebration also signifies the triumph of good over evil, the coming of spring and the end of winter, and is recognized as a festive day to meet others and heal broken relationships.
The festival lasts for a night and a day and falls in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna – around the middle to the end of March in the Gregorian calendar.
Holi celebrations begin the day before, known as Holi Dahan, where people gather to perform religious rituals in front of a bonfire and pray for their internal evil to be destroyed.
The next day, the streets are painted with color and water is used to drench others. In this part of the festival, everyone is fair game – friends or strangers, old or young – to be smeared with color and drenched in water.
The colors can be created by using natural ingredients including beetroot, berries or turmeric.
The festival lasts for a night and a day and falls in the Hindu calendar month of Phalguna, which falls around mid-March.
Holi celebrations begin the day before, known as Holi Dahan, where people gather to perform religious rituals
In this section of the festival, everyone is fair game – friends or strangers, old or young – to be smeared with color
The festival brings together friends, families and even enemies to celebrate, laugh and forgive and forget their grudges
Each color has a different meaningRed, the color worn by brides, is the color of love, passion and fertility, while blue is used to represent the color of Krishna’s skin, the sky and the seas.
Yellow is the sign of happiness, knowledge and peace, and green represents the beginning of spring and the end of the winter season.
People gather to sing and dance with musical instruments, visit family and friends, and share food and drink.
The legend behind celebrating the festival of colors lies in Lord Krishna and Radha. It is believed that Lord Krishna often wondered if Radha would like him with his bluish skin. To dispel his doubts, his mother asked Krishna to apply color to his skin.
Radha’s color smear joke quickly became a staple of the Holi festivities.
Each of the colors, often with natural ingredients, has a specific meaning as part of the celebrations
The festival symbolizes the gathering of family and friends, and marks the love of the Hindu gods Lord Krishna and Radha
In the many cities around the world taking part in the celebration, the streets are filled with color and water
People of all ages come together to celebrate and no one, friend or stranger, is spared to be doused in color and water
Elsewhere in India, Mumbai, the capital of the western state of Maharshtra, has been hit hard by a resurgence of covid affairs
Elsewhere in India, Mumbai, the capital of the western state of Maharshtra, has been hit hard by a resurgence of covid affairs.
The state registered a record high of 36,902 cases on Friday, while the capital Mumbai also reported a record 5,515 cases.
It comes as the state government has announced a curfew starting Sunday to stop the spread of the virus.
Authorities could also impose local lockdowns in some districts to stop the increase in the number of cases.