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These Indian Widows Are Breaking Tradition By Celebrating Holi And It's Awesome

Widows in some parts of India are typically marginalized and hidden from public sight, but one group is seeking to change that.

Last updated on March 7, 2015, at 7:29 p.m. ET

Posted on March 7, 2015, at 1:26 p.m. ET

India and Nepal are once again celebrating Holi, the annual Hindu festival of colors.

Bernat Armangue / AP

The festival marks the arrival of spring and the victory of good over evil, with revelers celebrating by throwing colored power, water, and flower petals.

Bernat Armangue / AP

But one marginalized group of Indian society is typically kept away from the festivities: widows.

Tsering Topgyal / AP

In some parts of India, widows must traditionally spend their lives in mourning, and they are often considered bad luck and shunned from major celebrations. Some are even abandoned on the streets by family.

Bernat Armangue / AP

But during this year's festivities one charity sought to change all that...

Hindu widow Vindai Sori, 90, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Vindai Sori, 90, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

The Meera Sahabhagini Widows Ashram in Vrindavan in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh held Holi celebrations for the abandoned widows it houses.

Hindu widow Leela Sarkar, 80, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Leela Sarkar, 80, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

The gathering was organized on Tuesday by aid agency Sulabh International.

Hindu widow Bhubhu Ladashi, 72, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Bhubhu Ladashi, 72, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

Associated Press photographer Bernat Armangué was invited to document the celebration, and take these stunning portraits.

Widow Tara Devi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Widow Tara Devi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

For many of the women, it was the first time in years they were given the chance to joyfully celebrate the new season.

Hindu widow Oruna poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Oruna poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

Their happiness was self-evident.

Hindu widow Kalani Dashi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Kalani Dashi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

Here's to showing that losing a husband doesn't have to mean losing your own life too.

Hindu widow Uma, 65, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.
Bernat Armangue / AP

Hindu widow Uma, 65, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi.

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