India’s Widows in Color

Photos by Bernat Armangue

Indian tradition says a widow will spend her life in seclusion, mourning her husband and avoiding public gatherings. If she comes to a wedding, she is thought to bring bad luck to the family. If she comes to a birth ceremony, she brings bad luck to the baby.

After her husband dies, she will wear only white, Hinduism’s color of mourning. As much as she can, she will live a life without color.

So when Holi arrives, the festival of spring and India’s riotous annual celebration of color, when friends and strangers shower one another with colored water and bright powders, she is supposed to disappear into the background.

Then there is Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widows Ashram, a shelter for widows abandoned by their families, in this city of temples where widows have long been dropped off and forgotten.

In that ashram, hundreds of widows gathered Tuesday to experience what they are not supposed to: Joy. Organized by an Indian aid agency, Sulabh International, the gathering was a way to let the women celebrate their lives, and to show that losing a husband doesn’t mean losing one’s life.

Color was everywhere. On the women’s faces, in their hair, coating their clothes.

For once, white was hard to find.


Click on any image to launch the India’s Widows in Color gallery.


 

See more from Bernat Armangue

 

Text from AP news story, AP PHOTOS: Indian widows celebrate Holi despite tradition, by Bernat Armangue

 

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Published by AP Images Team

AP Images is the world’s largest collection of historical andcontemporary photos. AP Images provides instant access to AP's iconic photos and adds new content every minute of every day from every corner of the world, making it an essential source of photos and graphics for professional imagebuyers and commercial customers. Whether your needs are for editorial, commercial, or personal use, AP Images has the content and the expert sales team to fulfill your image requirements. Visit apimages.com to learn more.

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