Hindu widow Sima Chohan, 40, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 3, 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

A Hindu widow lies on the ground filled with a mixture of colored powder, water and flower petals during celebrations to mark Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 3, 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

New Delhi-based photographer Bernat Armangue has consistently presented a rich portrait of India’s culture, highlighting the saturated colors that only seem to exist under its sun and giving equal weight to the moments of celebration, triumph, and sorrow that are uniquely its own. Armangue, the Chief Photographer for South Asia with AP, has for the past few years captured portraits of attendees of the annual HIndu festival of Holi, which is celebrated in India and Nepal. It marks the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. As festivities began on Tuesday, March 3, Armangue chose to focus on a marginalized group within Indian society: widows.

Hindu custom has traditionally dictated that widows spend their life in mourning the loss of their spouse, and their presence at major life events, such as a marriage or the birth of a child, is often considered bad luck. At times, they are left abandoned on the streets by family members. But during this year’s festival, the Meera Sahabhagini Widows Ashram, a refuge for abandoned or forgotten widows, hosted a gathering that was organized by the Indian aid agency, Sulabh International, to offer hundreds of women the chance to mark the beginning of a new season by celebrating their lives and becoming illuminated again as figures full of joy, able to start a new life, and showered in brightly colored powder.

[Related Gallery: An Explosion of Color as Holi Beings in India]


Hindu widow Kalani Dashi, 70, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 3, 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widow Vindai Sori, 90,at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India after celebrating Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, March 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widow Uma, 65, at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widows throw colored powder on an Indian policeman as they celebrate Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 3, 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Trays filled with colored powder and flower petals lie on a floor to be used by widows to celebrate Holi, the Hindu festival of colors, at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 3, 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widow Tara Devi, 70, at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widow Oruna poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

Hindu widow Bhubhu Ladashi, 72, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)

 


Hindu widow Leela Sarkar, 80, poses for a portrait after celebrating Holi at the Meera Sahabhagini Widow Ashram in Vrindavan, India, March 2015. (Bernat Armangue/AP Photo)