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Breaking centuries-old tradition, about 1,000 widows living in the holy city of Vrindavan celebrated the spring color festival of Holi at Meera Sahabhagini Sadan in Vrindavan. As per Indian tradition, widows are considered social outcasts and refrain from celebrating Holi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Manish Swarup / Associated Press

An Indian girl has her face smeared with colored powder as she celebrates the Holi festival in Ahmadabad, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Ajit Solanki / Associated Press

Indian Hindu 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 husbands' deaths the women have been banished by their families, for supposedly bringing bad luck, to the town where devotees believe Lord Krishna was born.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Manish Swarup / Associated Press

Indian Hindu widows play with colored powder during Holi celebrations at the Meera Sahbhagini Ashram in Vrindavan, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Manish Swarup / Associated Press

For the first time, about a 1,000 widows of Vrindavan celebrated Holi with colors at an ashram.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Harish Tyagi / EPA

An Indian widow throws petals while participating in the Holi festival in Vrindavan, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Harish Tyagi / EPA

Indian widows are covered with colors while participating in the Holi festival in Vrindavan, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Harish Tyagi / EPA

Indian widows attend a prayer as they participate in the Holi festival in Vrindavan, India.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Harish Tyagi / EPA

An Indian Hindu devotee performs with fire as he participates in a procession ahead of the Holi festival in Amritsar.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Narinder Nanu / AFP/Getty Images

Students of Rabindrabharati University apply color on each other as they celebrate the Holi festival at Tagore House in Calcutta.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Piyal Adhikary / EPA

An Indian widow, seen smeared with colored powder, rests after celebrating Holi in Vrindavan.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: PRAKASH SINGH / AFP/Getty Images

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Holi celebrations underway in India

Holi, the popular Hindu spring festival of colors, is observed in India at the end of the winter season on the last full moon of the lunar month and will be celebrated on March 16 this year.

In the holy city of Vrindavan, about 1,000 widows broke a centuries-old tradition and celebrated the spring color festival at Meera Sahabhagini Sadan. As per Indian tradition, widows are considered social outcasts and refrain from celebrating Holi. The event in Vrindavan was organized by a non-governmental organization, Sulabh.

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