ANNVILLE, PA (03/17/2015)(readMedia)– Lebanon Valley College students will join with members of the local Hindu community on Thursday, March 26 to host an open celebration of Holi, the colorful Hindu celebration of spring and unity. The festival, to be held on the lawns behind the College’s Shroyer Health Center, will begin at 4:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The celebration will commence with the haldi-kunku ritual, in which married women exchange haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermilion powder) in celebration of their role in society. Sarah Pagnis, a member of the local Hindu community, will share information about this particular tradition as well as the Holi Festival in general, its origins, and its importance in Hinduism.
The lighting of a small Holi pyre is the second key element of the celebration. Pagnis will explain the significance of the elements within the pyre as well as rituals related to circling the fire with water or rice.
Then, bags of colorful powder will be distributed to everyone wishing to take part in coloring others with the powder (akin to a modern “color run”). Lively Bollywood-style music accompanies this portion of the celebration. Participants are encouraged to wear white t-shirts such that the colorful powder-which does not stain clothes or car seats-will have the greatest impact, but participation is optional.
“Of course, in addition to fun, good music, and active learning, there will be lots of unique and tasty food,” according to LVC’s chaplain, Paul Fullmer, who is working with students at the College as well as members of the local community to organize the event. Appetizers to be served include pani puri (spherical crisp filled with flavored water), batata wada (crisp potato fritters), farsan (a dry-roasted corn- and peanut-based snack), and kaju katli (a cashew-based sweet treat).
“I am very pleased and excited that the festival of Holi will be celebrated at LVC this year,” said Jay Deshpande, a member of the local Hindu community. “LVC students and others will have an opportunity to learn about a different culture and taste some traditional Indian food. I expect that participants will have lots of fun and enjoy the entertainment. The celebration will also give them a break from their routines.”
Pre-registration is recommended; contact LVC’s Office of Spiritual Life at 717-867-6135 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.