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Friday, March 24, 2017

Activities & Organizations

Student organizations celebrate Holi


Students gathered at Lynn Eusan Park on Thursday to participate in Holi, a Hindu tradition marked with fluorescent powdered paint. | Justin Cross/The Cougar

Several student organizations came together Thursday evening to host Holi at Lynn Eusan Park hoping to stir interest in their cultural roots.

The Council of Ethnic Organizations, Graduate Indian Student Organization and Indian Student Association educated students on the cultural context of Holi, which is a traditional Hindu celebration held in many parts of South Asia.

The event, which lasted two hours in the afternoon, began with a brief prayer signifying religious ties. Then, modern Indian and American music and brightly colored powder filled the air while friends and strangers participated in the festivities of the night.

“It’s a celebration of spring and good over evil,” said Sam Jain, a biomedical engineering senior. “It’s become popular all across college campuses that have a South Asian population. That’s why we find it really important to have Holi each year and make sure we have an event for the students.”

While a few of the attendees were there for fun, many were curious about the religious history of the event and its cultural ties. 

“I don’t want to shy away from the meaning of the festival because I know it’s important,” said Laura Clark, an electrical engineering senior. “I’m hoping that I’ll learn more about what the whole festival means.”

T-shirts specially designed for the event were handed out to those who had wristbands, and students were urged to help clean up as they left.

“My heritage is Indian, but I’m actually Christian,” said Michelle Benjamin, an electrical power engineering technology junior who also served as the event’s head organizer. “I don’t get a lot of the actual religious festivals that come along with being Indian, since they are tied to religious things, so being able to plan Holi and getting to see everyone participate in it and see how meaningful it was to them was really awesome.”

Holi is a religiously significant occasion for practitioners of Hinduism, but campus organizers have made the celebration accessible to all.

“Even though it’s originally cultural,” Jain said, “the fact that you get to throw paint color on strangers and your best friends is something that anyone can get into.”

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