Students get cultured with smears of color for Rutgers’ ‘Holi Moli’

Photo by Michelle Klejmont | 

About 1,800 students playfully emptied packets of powdered flower petals on themselves, their friends and strangers Friday afternoon for Rutgers’ “Holi Moli,” on the Livingston campus to celebrate the Hindu tradition, Holi. Holi, also known as the “Festival of Colors” or the “Festival of Love,” is a spring celebration widely celebrated in areas of South Asia and is meant to welcome the arrival of spring and the end of winter, as well as the triumph of good over evil. MICHELLE KLEJMONT / MANAGING EDITOR


In the spirit of welcoming the arrival of spring by throwing colorful powdered flower petals, Nupur Joshi, event coordinator of the Hindu Students Council said “Holi Moli” annually uses the Hindu tradition to bring everyone together to have fun.

“Holi is the Hindu festival of colors,” said Joshi, a School of Arts and Sciences junior. “One of the main reasons behind Holi is when you’re covered in color, you can’t differentiate between race, class, religion or anything.”

As students of many demographics were beginning to gather on the grass lawn next to Livingston Student Center dressed in white t-shirts last Friday, Joshi said after everyone is covered in color, it is easy to see that they are “all one and the same.”

“It really helps to bring everyone together and strengthens the community,” she said.

Photo by Michelle Klejmont |

Darshna Modi, president of Hindu Students Council and a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said the council, which also brought Diwali Mela in partnership with Desi Intercultural Youth Association (DIYA) to campus last fall, is proud to present the biggest Holi event to the University, expecting 1,800 attendees.

Along with receiving free packets of colors, Joshi said students also looked forward to celebrating to Bollywood and Western music provided by DJ Bliss and Amplifier Entertainment.

According to the Facebook event page, there were singing and dancing performances by Nuttin’ But V.O.C.A.L.S., RU Swara, Laleta Teajman and Kevin Persaud, RU Bhangra, Nehriyan Bhangra and Jhoom Dynamix.

Food included samosas, a traditional Indian filled and fried or baked pastry, spring rolls and kulfi, a special South Asian ice cream.

This year, Modi said the council tried hard to prepare and organize the event, especially when it came to buying the colored power.

At last year’s Holi event, the colors ran out quickly and the group had concern of the same thing happening this year.

“This year, we got as many colors as we could to accommodate about 1,800 people and we have a color distribution going on,” she said.

Two of the eight tables under a tent were assigned to give colors to the attendees. After double checking the number of students who R.S.V.P’d on Facebook, Modi said they was able to think of a system of distribution according to that number.

The first thousand people who came received two packets of color each, where they received either red and green, blue and pink or violet and yellow. The next 800 people got one packet but were allowed to pick a color.

“When (students) get the packet of color, which is going to be open for them, they can grab (the color) from the packet and just throw it on someone else or smear it on someone’s face or on their arms,” Modi said.

Another concern for Modi was the forecast, which predicted that it would rain on Friday afternoon, also the time of the event.

“I was a little concerned because of the weather, but I’m so glad it decided to be sunny today,” she said. “I was super hyped when I saw that it stopped raining, but I was excited regardless because we were going to have the event rain or shine.”

Modi said she was thrilled to see a large body of students attending the event and is happy to know that the event either spread around campus through both word of mouth or social media.

“I find it humbling that (everyone) wants to join our event, enjoy it with us and celebrate it with us,” she said. “I am super excited for them to experience Holi.”

The experience of Holi is something completely new and different to people who may not be familiar with Hindu culture, said Modi. She thinks that students will learn a lot just by having fun and letting loose at “Holi Moli.”

Angela Choi, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, and her friend, Bindi Parish, a School of Arts and Sciences senior, said they both came to the event in hopes of grabbing a taste of culture.

“I’m graduating in about a month, and I feel like these are my last few chances to actually participate in cultural events,” Choi said. “I just want to see different cultural aspects — how they do it, what’s the meaning behind it.”

Parish said she is also interested in exploring the religious meanings of Holi and be able to share her culture with her friends and peers.

“Hopefully after the students are all messy with color, I hope they do realize that everyone is the same or different in a good way because that is one of the meanings behind Holi,” Modi said.