Celebrated at the beginning of spring, the Hindu Holi festival sees colourful scenes erupt throughout India and Nepal. The two-day-long celebration, which starts on the Purnima (the day of the full moon), holds mythical importance – that good will triumph over evil. It is also associated with the eternal love of Lord Krishna and his consort Radha.

On the first day, known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi, rituals marking the burning of demoness Holika take place. This is followed by the main festival where people celebrate by dancing, singing and smearing each other with coloured powder.

Holi 2016
An Indian student takes part in an event to celebrate the Holi festival in KolkataDibyangshu Sarkar/AFP
Holi 2016
A man reacts as powder is thrown on him during celebrations for the festival of Holi in AgartalaArindam Dey/AFP
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A widow covered in coloured powder is seen during the Holi festival at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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A woman dances to celebrate the Holi festival in KolkataDibyangshu Sarkar/AFP
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Revellers take part in India's Holi celebrations in Chennai on 24 March 2016Arun Sankar/AFP/Getty Images
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Crowds get showered in a rainbow of colours to celebrate the Holi festival in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images
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A woman sings to commemorate the Holi festival at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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People covered in coloured powder sit inside a temple during prayers held as part of the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of NandgaonFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
People covered in coloured powder sit inside a temple during prayers held as part of the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of NandgaonFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
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Indian Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers with their faces smeared in coloured powder celebrate Holi at their camp in HumhamaDanish Ismail/Reuters
Holi 2016
A widow is covered in confetti as she dances during the Holi festival at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Holi 2016
Widows dance during the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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Girls look on as the celebrations for the Holi festival continue in KolkataDibyangshu Sarkar/AFP
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Widows take a break during the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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Revellers throw red powder onto villagers who are being sprayed with water during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of NandgaonFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
An Indian student takes part in an event to celebrate the Holi festival in KolkataDibyangshu Sarkar/AFP
Holi 2016
Revellers covered in coloured powder sit inside a temple during prayers held as part of the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of NandgaonFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
Widows daubed in colours take a break during the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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Shoppers buy coloured powder for Holi celebrations at a roadside stall in IndiaSanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images
Holi 2016
Widows dance in coloured confetti and powder during the Holi festival at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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Bikers ride a motorcycle after taking part in celebrations for the Holi festival in SiliguriDiptendu Dutta/AFP
Holi 2016
A woman takes part in the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar PradeshAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Holi in India
Hindu devotees participate in rituals for the Holi festival at the Nandji Temple in IndiaSanjay Kanojia/AFP/Getty Images
Holi 2016
An Indian student takes part in an event to celebrate the Holi festival in KolkataDibyangshu Sarkar/AFP
Holi 2016
Men dance as others throw coloured powder on them during Holi celebrations in KolkataRupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Holi 2016
Men dance covered in coloured powder dance during Holi celebrations in KolkataRupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
Holi 2016
A boy, who is covered in coloured powder poses during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of BarsanaFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
Men dance as others throw coloured powder on them during Holi celebrations in KolkataRupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters
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A girl smiles as others apply coloured powder on her face during Holi celebrations in MumbaiShailesh Andrade/Reuters
Holi 2016
A woman daubed in colours takes part in the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar PradeshAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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Men covered in coloured powder sit in the street during a Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of BarsanaFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
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A woman holds a stick as she takes part in the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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A man stands during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of NandgaonFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
Indian men dance in a street during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of BarsanaFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
A woman caked in pink powder sings as she takes part in the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
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A man smeared with colours takes part in Holi celebrations in ChennaiArun Sankar/AFP
Holi 2016
Women 'beat' the men during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of BarsanaFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
Holi 2016
A man is 'beaten' during the Lathmar Holi celebrations in the village of BarsanaFrancois Xaiver Marit/AFP
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People dance during the Holi celebrations in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
Holi 2016
People dance in confetti during the Holi celebrations at Vrindavan, Uttar Pradesh districtAnindito Mukherjee/Reuters
Holi 2016
Many Indians opted for a 'dry Holi' this year over concerns about a worsening water shortage in some parts of the countryRoberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images
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Thousands take to the streets on Holi to throw coloured powder and water on each other in celebrationFrancois Xavier Marit/AFP/Getty Images
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People take part in Holi celebrations in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
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Indian shoppers buy coloured powder for the Holi celebrations at a roadside stall in the old city of AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP
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People take part in Holi celebrations in ChennaiArun Sankar/AFP
Holi 2016
People take part in Holi celebrations in AllahabadSanjay Kanojia/AFP