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Breaking Tradition: Widows Celebrate Holi Festival in India

 / Updated 
Women, who are widows, dance during Holi celebrations organized by the non-governmental organisation Sulabh International at a widow's ashram in Vrindavan in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 14. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. AHMAD MASOOD / Reuters

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Women, who are widows, dance during Holi celebrations organized by the non-governmental organization Sulabh International at a widow's ashram in Vrindavan in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh on March 14. Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors, heralds the beginning of spring and is celebrated all over India. Traditionally in Hindu culture, widows are expected to renounce earthly pleasure so they do not celebrate Holi. But the women at the shelter for widows, who have been abandoned by their families, celebrated the festival together on Friday by throwing flowers and colored powder.

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A widow with her face smeared with colored powder watches the Holi celebrations at a widows' ashram in Vrindavan, India on March 14.AHMAD MASOOD / Reuters
Indian Hindu widows and Harijan, or former untouchable, women play with colored water for the first time as part of Holi celebrations at the Meera Sahbhagini Ashram in Vrindavan, India, on March 14. The widows, many of whom at times have lived desperate lives in the streets of the temple town, celebrated the festival at the century old ashram. After their husband's deaths, the women have been banished by their families, for supposedly bringing bad luck, to the town where devotees believe Lord Krishna was born.Manish Swarup / AP

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