Holi 2022: India celebrates festival of colours as Covid cases dip

Millions of Indians are celebrating Holi – the festival of colours – amid a sharp dip in Covid-19 cases in the country.

The festival saw restricted celebrations last year due to the pandemic.

Holi marks the last full-moon day of the lunar month. It’s a time of great cheer and fun as people smear bright colours on each other. It also symbolises new beginnings.

Students play with colours on the eve of Holi festival, at Shankar Lal Ground of Delhi University, on March 17, 2022 in New Delhi, India.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Women play with colours on the eve of Holi festival on March 17, 2022 in Bathinda, IndiaIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

The day is marked with sumptuous feasts and dancing.

Some people also shower each other with flower petals as their bright colours mark the advent of spring. On the eve of the festival, people also light large bonfires to symbolise the triumph of good over evil.

Revellers smeared in coloured powder dance during the Holi celebrations, the Hindu spring festival of colours, in Hyderabad on March 17, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
Devotees perform rituals during 'Holika Dahan' on the eve of Holi festival at Exhibition road on March 17, 2022 in Patna, IndiaIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES

Holi celebrations are taking place this year without major coronavirus restrictions in India. Across the country, crowds have gathered in open streets to celebrate.

A street stall selling colours on the eve of Holi festival, at Sadar Bazaar on March 17, 2022 in Gurugram, IndiaIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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The festival is a social highpoint for devotees
People dressed as Hindu deity Lord Krishna and Radha smeared with coloured powder, dance to celebrate Holi festival on March 17, 2022 in Kolkata, India.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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It’s marked with colourful dances and performances

Last year, many states, including capital Delhi, had banned large gatherings on Holi as Covid cases soared across the country. Infections have since come down drastically – India has been logging an average of 2,500 daily new cases for weeks – and restrictions have been eased everywhere.

Elated, devotees are celebrating the day in all its glory. Images from the festival show crowds completely covered in colourful paint as they take part in the large celebrations.

Children playing Holi during Chapak Holi Milan Samaroh at Hanuman Nagar Park on March 17, 2022 in Patna, IndiaIMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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As Covid cases fall, large crowds are gathering to play Holi
Revellers smeared in coloured powder dance during the Holi celebrations, the Hindu spring festival of colours, in Hyderabad on March 17, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Restrictions on gatherings have been eased across India

However, government officials and health experts have warned against complacency.

On Thursday, the health ministry had directed states to maintain “heightened surveillance” as Covid cases rise in China, Singapore and some European countries.

Revellers smeared in coloured powder dance during the Holi celebrations, the Hindu spring festival of colours, in Hyderabad on March 17, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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People are elated the pandemic hasn’t spoilt their Holi plans this year
Devotees celebrate with colours, a day before the festival of 'Holi', at Govind Dev Ji Temple, in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India,Thursday, March 17, 2022.IMAGE SOURCE,GETTY IMAGES
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Experts worry about a possible rise in cases in the near future

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