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Holi: The Festival of Colors, 2011

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Around the world, Hindus celebrated Holi last weekend. Called the Festival of Colors, Holi is a popular springtime festival observed on the last full moon of the lunar month. Participants traditionally throw bright, vibrant powders at friends and strangers alike, celebrating the arrival of Spring, commemorating Krishna's pranks, and allowing everyone a momentary freedom -- a chance to drop their inhibitions and simply play and dance. Gathered here are images from this year's Holi celebrations across India and several other countries. [36 photos]

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A man covered with colored powder poses for a photograph during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on on March 21, 2011. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
A man covered with colored powder poses for a photograph during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on on March 21, 2011. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images)
Hindus throw colored water on each other during the Hindu spring festival of Holi in Lahore, Pakistan on March 20, 2011. (Arif Ali/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian villagers are covered in colorful dye as they chat during Holi celebrations in the village of Jaav, 120 km (113 mi) south of New Delhi, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
A man smeared with color poses in front of a shop during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on on March 21, 2011. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
A girl with her face covered in colored powder smiles as more powder is thrown at a temple in Kuala Lumpur on March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Samsul Said) #
Hindus celebrate Holi by throwing colorful paints and powders at each other, in the Hague on March 20, 2011. (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images) #
Hindu devotees colored by powder thrown while celebrating Holi, the festival of color, crowd at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, India on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Vrindavan is a famous place for Holi celebrations, where according to legend, the Hindu god Krishna played Holi with his consort Radha. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #
A man smeared with colored powdered called abeer makes a face during Phagwa, or Holi, celebrations at the Savannah in Arranguez March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Andrea De Silva) #
People attempt to collect fire in buckets after the colorful pole or "chir" was brought down and burnt during the Holi festival in Kathmandu March 19, 2011. (Reuters/Navesh Chitrakar) #
A man rests in a color-stained scene during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
Hindu devotees play with colored powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on on March 21, 2011. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
Indian Hindu worshipers are covered in red dye during Holi celebrations at the Dauji Temple in Dauji, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. The Dauji Temple festivities are known for a ritual where the women playfully hit men with whips made of cloth as men throw buckets of water with orange dye. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Hindu devotees throw colored paper and dance as they celebrate Holi, the festival of colors, in Allahabad, India, Monday, March 21, 2011. Clothes torn and thrown during celebrations are seen hanging from overhead cables. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
A woman, her face smeared with colored powder, smiles during festivities marking Holi in Calcutta, India, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Bikas Das) #
A Hindu priest sprays colored water on devotees celebrating Holi, the festival of colors, as they crowd at the Swaminarayan temple in Ahmadabad, India on Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Ajit Solanki) #
A Hindu devotee colored by powder prostrates himself at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, India on Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #
Indians dance as they celebrate Holi, the festival of colors, in Gauhati, India on Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath) #
Hindu devotees colored by powder thrown while celebrating Holi, the festival of color, crowd at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, about 140 kilometers (87 miles) from New Delhi, India, Friday, March 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Indian Hindu devotees are smeared with colors as they pray during Holi celebrations at Lord Krishna's Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on March 19, 2011. (MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) #
A young girl gets her face smeared with colored powder during Holi festival in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin) #
Hindu devotees are colored by powder thrown while celebrating Holi at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, India on Friday, March 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Hindu devotees play with colored powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
Red dye is thrown in the air as Indian Hindu worshipers, some carrying tree branches, take part in Holi celebrations, the Hindu festival of colors at the Dauji Temple in Dauji, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Hindu devotees throw purple powder in the air during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
Indian women hold sticks, also known as Lahti's, which are playfully used to hit local men during Lahtmar Holi celebrations of the Hindu festival of colors in the village of Jaav, India, Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Hindu devotees are covered with colored powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
A young Indian reveler plays in colored water during Holi celebrations in Hyderabad on March 20, 2011. (NOAH SEELAM/AFP/Getty Images) #
Indian women smear each others faces with color as they dance to celebrate Holi, the festival of colors in Allahabad, India on Sunday, March 20, 2011. (AP Photo/Rajesh Kumar Singh) #
Indian villagers covered in colored dye light cigarettes during Holi celebrations in the village of Jaav, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
Colored dye is thrown in the air over a crowd of Hindu worshipers during Holi celebrations at the Dauji Temple in Dauji, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #
A Hindu devotee colored by powder thrown while celebrating Holi, the festival of color, looks on at the Banke Bihari temple in Vrindavan, India, Saturday, March 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup) #
Hindu devotees dance and play in a cloud of colored powder during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
A puff of purple powder joins the clouds of other colored powders as Hindu devotees celebrate Holi at the Bankey Bihari Temple in Vrindavan, India on March 21, 2011. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
Indian Border Security Force soldiers apply colored powder to their colleague's face as they celebrate Holi at a camp in Humhama March 20, 2011. (Reuters/Danish Ismail) #
Hindu devotees play with colored powders during Holi celebrations at the Bankey Bihari Temple on March 21, 2011 in Vrindavan, India. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images) #
An Indian Hindu worshiper raises his arms as red dye is thrown during Holi celebrations at the Dauji Temple in Dauji, India on Monday, March 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Kevin Frayer) #

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