Millions of Indians celebrate the Holi festival, dance to the beat of drums, smear each other with green, yellow and red colors and exchange sweets in homes, parks and streets.
Free from wearing masks and other COVID-19 restrictions after two years, they drenched each other with colored water on Wednesday.
“Wishing you all a happy and colorful Holi!” Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted.
Bollywood and other celebrities organized bashes for friends and posted pictures on social media.
“People who work hard play hard,” said Ravi Sharma, a pharmacy owner.
One of the most popular Hindu festivals, Holi, which also marks the beginning of spring, celebrates the divine love of the Hindu god Krishna with his consort Radha.
On Tuesday evenings, people built bonfires with logs in open spaces to commemorate the triumph of good over evil: the Hindu god Vishnu slaying a demon, Hiranyakashipu.
Holi traditions vary across India. In two northern cities, hundreds of women celebrated last week by playfully beating men with wooden sticks in response to their teasing as part of a ritual.
Drinking is part of the celebrations. New Delhi reported record liquor sales on Monday, selling a whopping 2.6 million bottles in a single day, compared to an average of 1.1 million bottles, according to The Times of India newspaper.