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Lathmar Holi 2014: 12 Stunning Photos That'll Transport You To India For When It Is Spring

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When it comes to the end of winter, many North Americans celebrate by retiring the shovels, wiping off the salt stains, and saying a cheery, "sayonara" to snow. That's usually followed by a trip to the patio and a pint of beer or two, and then everyone waits for the fluffy white stuff to melt away.

But in India, locals celebrate the end of winter and the start of spring by heating things up with light:

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An Indian Hindu devotee performs with fire as he participates in a procession ahead of the Holi festival in Amritsar on March 12, 2014. Holi, the popular Hindu spring festival of colours is observed in India at the end of the winter season on the last full moon of the lunar month and will be celebrated on March 17 this year. AFP PHOTO/Narinder Nanu

Welcome to Lathmar Holi 2014, the warm-up to the country's festival of lights and all things colourful.

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Hindu men from the village of Nangaon throw coloured powder at each other as they play holi at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

This year, the main Holi day falls on Monday, March 17, but some festivities started as early as Sunday. In Barsana, a small village in Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh, hundreds gathered to pay tribute to Krishna, the eighth incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

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Hindu men from the village of Nangaon throw coloured powder at each other as they play holi at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Legend has it that Lord Krishna travelled from Nandgaon, his nearby hometown, to Barsana in order to visit his beloved, Radha, and her friends. The story goes something like this: Krishna was bothered by Radha's fair complexion, so he tried to paint her face with colour. Wanting nothing to do with any of it, Radha chased him away with a stick.

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Indian Hindu boys throw colored water on a woman at the Nandagram Temple famous for Lord Krishna during Lathmar Holi festival in Nandgaon 120 kilometers ( 75 miles) from New Delhi, India, Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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A Hindu man pours a bucket of colored water on a woman outside the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers ( 71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

Today, men from the village of Nandgaon travel to Barsana, armed with shields and coloured water and powder to lob at participants.

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An Indian labourer sifts coloured powder, known as 'gulal', to be used during the forthcoming spring festival of Holi, inside a factory at Fulbari village on the outskirts of Siliguri on March 9, 2014. Diptendu Dutta/AFP Photo/Getty Images

Women also come armed, but with sticks called "lathis" to beat the men. The result looks something like this:

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Men gesture to Indian Hindu women from Nandgaon village to stop beating the shield of a man from Barsana village during Lathmar Holi in Nandgaon, 120 kilometers (75 miles) from New Delhi, India, Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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Indian Hindu devotees covered in colour dances as they arrive at the Nandagram Temple famous for Lord Krishna during the Lathmar Holy festival in Nandgaon 120 kilometers (75 miles) from New Delhi, India, Monday, March 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

And if you think these photos are pretty crazy, just think about how colourful things will get once March 17 rolls around and the rest of the country is flinging coloured powder at one another.

holi 2014

Hindu men from the village of Nangaon are covered in coloured powder as they play Holi at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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Hindu men from the village of Nangaon throw coloured powder on others as they play holi at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, in New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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Hindu men from the village of Nangaon covered with coloured powder sit on the floor during prayers at the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holy festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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An elderly Hindu man seek alms from devotees outside the Ladali or Radha temple before the procession for the Lathmar Holi festival, the legendary hometown of Radha, consort of Hindu God Krishna, in Barsana 115 kilometers (71 miles) from New Delhi, India, Sunday, March 9, 2014. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

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