The Hindu festival of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colours, begins on 23 March this year, but celebrations have already begun in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh with a festival called Lathmar Holi.
In this vibrant spring festival, women from the village of Barsana use bamboo sticks to beat men from the neighbouring village of Nandgaon. The men, in turn, tease the women and daub them with coloured powders. Legend has it that Lord Krishna, who lived in Nandgaon, visited his beloved Radha's village, Barsana, on this day and playfully teased her and her friends. He was chased away by the village women with sticks.
The tradition of applying coloured powder on each other's face also has its origin in the legend of Radha and Krishna. According to Hindu mythology, the dark-skinned Krishna was so jealous of the fair-skinned Radha that he would sprinkle coloured powder on her in an attempt to change her complexion.