Students welcome springtime with Hindu festival of colors


Students danced to festive Indian music while throwing brightly-colored powder and water balloons at each other to celebrate Holi, the traditional Hindu festival of colors Friday at Harris field.

MAITRI, the N.C. State graduate student Indian association, EKTAA, the undergraduate student Indian association, Delta Sigma Iota, Kappa Phi Lamda and UAB hosted the event.

About 300 people attended the event, said Dip Patel, a senior in economics and one of the event organizers.
At the event, participants splashed their friends and fellow participants with water balloons before enveloping them in a sea of powdered color.

Patel said the first 1,000 packets were given to attendees for free, and the event used 1,400 color packets overall.
In India, Holi signifies the transition from the winter season to the spring season. The people of India use this festival as a way to celebrate hope for the upcoming season.

“This is a festival of colors,” said Anurodh Tripathi, a chemical engineering graduate student who attended the event. “The whole idea is that you color everything around you until you are exhausted. In India at this time, what happens is the season changes, so this marks the end of another season, so we celebrate that by using Holi, like we had a good another good season this year. Let’s celebrate it with color.”

Students who attended the event described Holi as not only a traditional Indian event, but also an event that brings together people of all races and ages to enjoy the diversity of culture on campus.
“We bonded with people we didn’t know,” said Jasmine Davis, a junior in psychology. “There was a lot of Indian music, which was fun.”

Deepak Kumar, a population Health and pathobiology student, said his family celebrates Holi every year in India.
“It’s like bringing Indian culture to the U.S. and enjoying it with our friends over here,” Kumar said. “It’s like spreading our culture.”
According to Tripathi, Holi originates from a symbolic Indian Myth.

The myth describes a devilish and powerful king named Hiranyakshyap. The King’s son, Prahlad, chose not to worship him, worshipping Lord Vishnu instead. The king was angry with his son and told his sister, Holika, to take Prahlad into a blazing fire. Prahlad’s devotion to his lord saved him from the fire. This myth is said to symbolize the benefits of devotion to one’s god.

The night before Holi, the Hindu people typically have a bonfire to represent this story, as well as the victory of good over evil.
A myth of two Hindu dieties, Krishna and Radha, explains why the festival is so colorful. It was said that Krishna found delight in applying color to his lover Radha, Tripathi said.

The Holi festival garnered American interest abroad when, while visiting India, former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and their families participated in the event.

Source: Technician Online