(CNN) — Explosions of pink and purple powder. Rainbow dust tumbling through the air. Faces, hair, hands and clothes rendered in a kaleidoscope of colors.
Not even fears about the coronavirus could stop many people from taking to the streets in India to celebrate Holi, one of the world's most photogenic religious festivals, although some donned face masks.
Others, including India's prime minister, opted to give it a miss altogether.
Usually a huge draw for tourists, Holi is traditionally celebrated across India, South Asia and among the Indian diaspora as the spring equinox approaches in the northern hemisphere. This year, it's celebrated on March 9 and 10.
With participants ranging from the old to the young, irrespective of class, the Hindu festival generally is viewed as a bringing together of the community, with swathes of people collectively taking to the streets of Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and other regions of India to celebrate.
Good over evil
Bright powders and water balloons are launched in the air by participants of "the Festival of Colors" with the aim of smearing and throwing as much gulal -- a fine powder offered in several shades -- as possible on friends and family.
Celebrated for centuries, the festival symbolizes the triumph of good over evil and commemorates new beginnings.
Over time, however, Holi has found a place in popular culture. It's now celebrated globally each year and inspires events such as "The Color Run" race series, and clothing design, such as Pharrell Williams and Adidas' Hu Holi shoe collaboration.
Before taking part in the fun, though, people are often advised to protect exposed skin with oil to avoid staining.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted his decision to sit it out, saying, "I have decided not to participate," in the celebrations.