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Indian Widows Celebrate Holi, Defy Traditions



Vrindavan widows celebrate Holi in a shower of color and flower petals, breaking social taboos forbidding widows from the spring festival. (Image Credit: Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera)


By Kristen E. Strubberg Editor-in-Chief

Thousands of widows in the holy cities of Vrindavan and Varanasi doused their white mourning garb with splashes of vibrant colors during this years celebration of Holi, welcoming spring radiantly with the rest of India and the world. For many, it had been decades since the fuchsia,


green, blue, and yellow gulal powders covered their bodies due to strict Indian custom which prohibits widows from participating in festivals. The NGO Sulabh International has worked for years to eliminate this and the many other taboos attached to widows. Holi 2015 marked a record turnout: Over 1,000 ashram-bound widows in Vrindavan alone filled the streets to sing traditional Holi songs and dance while 3,000 lbs of flower petals filled the air.

Normally limited to white saris – white being the color of mourning – colorful gulal powder transformed their saris into many brilliant hues. (Image Credit: Showkat Shafi/Al Jazeera)

Read more about their revolutionary revelry and the additional efforts of NGO Sulabh International at Al-Jazeera.

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Kristen E. Strubberg is the Editor-in-Chief for TGNR. Kristen founded TGNR in 2013 - seeking to create a high quality platform for original, eclectic and substantive positive news journalism by attracting expert contributors in many varying subjects. Kristen also works as a clinical medical researcher in Cardiology, with an original background in Neuroscience. Her passion for science has translated to her science-fiction specialization, with her highly adept published insights into the best of sci-fi’s popular culture. Kristen has served as TGNR’s Editor-in-Chief since 2013.



  1. Dhriti Chhabra

    March 11, 2015 at 4:49 AM

    Reblogged this on The Great Indian Hitch.

  2. Filipa

    March 22, 2015 at 4:03 PM

    Reblogged this on Journey to the stars and commented:
    I just happened to saw a movie on tv about this – indian windows and their reclusive life. It’s called “Water”. Very touching. And they also celebrated Holi.

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