Leave the Festival Alone


The Holi Festival of Colors is a Hindu celebration, at least, it was. Many have taken the festival’s tradition of participants throwing colored powder at one another and used it for profit.

A Germany-based company called HOLI Festival of Colors is one such example. The company holds festivals for non-Hindus during autumn without any regard to why Holi is celebrated or even when.

Holi not only celebrates spring, but is also a festival of love. Not only that, but there is a religious legend surrounding parts of the festivities themselves. Bonfires are made both in pertaining to this legend as well as a symbol of good triumphing over evil.

The festival itself is usually held between the end of February and the middle of March.

Another group that has taken from Holi is Color RunTM. Their use is problematic in that the website simply mentioned the celebration, but nothing else. Only the colored powder is used, and there is no attention given to the history or culture of the tradition.

A similar thing is occurring here on campus. The Festival of Colors is held, but students are not given a full understanding of the culture behind the event. The treatment on campus has less to do with the historical and religious backgrounds of the traditions, and more on the focus of spring.

There is more to Holi than just the colors and spring. There is a tradition behind the Festival of Colors. There is a religion, and there are people.

Those that originally celebrated Holi kept it alive for their culture, and simply using a part of the celebration without fully acknowledging the tradition and its background takes the festival from its original heritage.

If the right groups were left in charge of the event, then it can work just as well on campus. Currently, Adventurers Anonymous is listed as one of the organizations that host the event. This raises the question of whether those that hold the event know enough about Holi to be able to speak about it. If the students in charge of the event know enough to inform participants about the religion behind the festival, then there is no issue.

The event can be a positive experience, as long as the event is simply not being taken out of its original context for the sake of spring. If the right organizations stepped in just to ensure that the participants learned about the culture, then the celebration on campus could continue without issue.

There are few ways to stop cultural appropriation overall, but it can be stopped on campus.

Doing the right research, finding students with a Hindu background, and making sure the right information is provided for participants are steps in the right direction. As long as we understand what Holi is about, we can let the colors fly.

Source: http://carthagecurrent.com/2016/05/leave-the-festival-alone/