Special three-day Holi celebrations for Vrindavan widows

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Vrindavan, Feb 25: More than 1,000 kgs of gulal will be available at shelter homes here for the thousands of widows in this Uttar Pradesh holy town to celebrate Holi and break from tradition and their mundane routine.

The Holi revelries will begin March 3 with songs, dances and sprinkling of colours on their white robes to mark a break from an oppressive socio-cultural regime.

Special three-day Holi celebrations for Vrindavan widows.
Widows in many parts of India are not permitted to play Holi even today or participate in any other festival and auspicious function.

The temple town of Vrindavan will witness unique Holi celebrations March 3 when a large number of widows in their white sarees will throw colours and gulal on one another to announce their freedom from bondage.

"Their participation in Holi symbolises a break from tradition which forbids a widow from wearing colours, among many other things," says social reformer and mentor of Sulabh Movement Bindeshwar Pathak.

The celebrations will end March 6.

Vrindavan is also known as the city of widows for the sheer number of women who find shelter here after being shunned by their families. Most of these widows hail from West Bengal.

Pathak told IANS that this time a number of widows from Varanasi will also join celebrations in Vrindavan. A few days back, hundreds of widows living in Varanasi played Holi for the first time.

The idea to celebrate Holi and other festivals was to help the integration of this large section of "socially ostracised women leading a secluded life in deplorable conditions with the mainstream", according to Pathak.

The Supreme Court of India has on several occasions lambasted the union and the Uttar Pradesh governments for the pathetic plight of Vrindavan widows.

IANS

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