'Festival of happiness, exaltation, joy and glee': PM Modi extends Holi wishes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday greeted people with Holi wishes and wished that the festival infuses new vigor and energy in everyone's life.
"Wishing you all a very Happy Holi. This festival of happiness, exaltation, joy and glee should infuse new vigor and new energy into everyone's life," PM Modi said in a tweet in Hindi.
This year the festival of Holi is being celebrated on March 29 in India.
A predominantly Hindu festival, Holi is celebrated by people of other faiths as well. It marks the arrival of the spring harvest season in the country. The evening before Holi is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi during which people light a bonfire to signify the burning of the demon Holika.
People have been seen welcoming the festival this year with full force even as the Covid-19 cases in the country have soared, indicating that India is in the grip of a second wave.
As the coronavirus spread has surged all over again. Many state governments and Union Territories have declared a ban on the public celebration of the Holi festival.
States including Delhi, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Goa, Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, and Haryana have imposed lockdown, and Holi guidelines.
India recorded 62,714 new cases in the space of 24 hours on Sunday, the Health Ministry said - the biggest jump since October - as well as 312 deaths.
Cases are also rising in the states of Kerala, Punjab, Karnataka, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh.
In Delhi, Mumbai and elsewhere, there were bans or restrictions on Holi and the Muslim Shab-e-Barat or Day of Forgiveness, which both fell at the weekend and would usually prompt large gatherings.
But despite the curbs, hundreds of people gathered for a Holi ritual in the city of Ahmedabad in Gujarat on Sunday.
The surge in infections in India coincides with multi-stage state elections in West Bengal and Assam, seen as a test of support of PM Modi's handling of the pandemic and mass protests over sweeping agriculture reforms.