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Women beat men with sticks in Indian village festival

March 2, 2012 | 10:32 pm


Every day on World Now, we choose an amazing photo from somewhere in the world. Today our eye was drawn to India, where the Hindu festival of Holi is splashing people with color -- literally.

"Each year, it marks the coming of spring and the triumph of good over evil with the jubilant hurling of colored powders and colored waters," The Times' Esmeralda Bermudez wrote last year. The spring festival is celebrated by throwing colorful  powder called gulal.

Holi is a little bit different in the village of Barsana, where this photo was snapped. There, people celebrate a variant of the holiday called Lathmar Holi, which means "beating with sticks."

The ritual is based on a legend that the Hindu god Krishna came to Barsana to playfully tease his beloved Radha and her friends, who beat him and his friends to chase them away.

Reenacting the story, men from Nandgaon, the village Krishna is said to be from, come to Barsana, where the local women ritually hit them with bamboo sticks.

"Even to this day, marriages between the two villages are not permitted," the Associated Press reports.


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-- Emily Alpert in Los Angeles

Photo: Indian women beat men with wooden sticks as the men shield themselves during the annual Lathmar Holi festival in the village of Barsana, India, on Friday. Credit: Harish Tyagi / European Pressphoto Agency