Spring is here to bring back a pop of color into our lives, and last Tuesday’s Holi festival gave the season a leg up on that.
The Indian celebration marks the end of winter and arrival of spring. The so called festival of colors is famous for its color powders thrown into the air and on people and is marked by music, food and hours of dancing.
Swaathy Kella and Deepak Kumar Sambangi, two Indian graduate students who only recenlty came to Missouri Western helped organize the campus event.
Kella is happy that many students participated in the event, especially domestic ones.
“We’re happy that most of them [attending students] were U.S. nationals,” Kella said.
Kella is pleased that local students showed interest in the Indian traditions and is more than willing to share her believes.
“They came to know about Holi and the significance of Holi, why we celebrate. I’m glad they came to know about our culture.”
Curious students were not only showered in colorful powder, they could also dance to Indian music and try traditional foods and drinks like samosas (dumplings filled with spicy peas and other vegetables) and masala chai (black tea brewed with Indian spices and herbs and mixed with milk), which the students got from an Indian restaurant in Kansas City.
“You never get that kind of recipe anywhere in the world. Indian food is the best out of all the ones I’ve tasted so far,” Kella said.
Although Kella and Sambangi are from different parts of India, the Holi festival is celebrated the same all over the country and is in fact getting more and more popular globally, with many American cities celebrating the festival of colors on an annual basis.
“Everywhere where there is a large Indian population, people are going to celebrate Holi,” Sambangi said.
In India, the day of Holi is a holiday celebrated by everyone.
“We put colors on everyone – who we know, we don’t know, neighbors, strangers, elders, women, men, everyone,” Kella said.
The reason that the Holi festival is so popular is that its message is clearly a positive one – an invitation to celebrate life. Furthermore, Holi is celebrated during the first month of the Hindu calendar.
“As per Hindu calendar, we have to start fresh, with a new spirit. We leave behind all the sorrows and rivalry. We spread love, most importantly, and start anew,” Sambangi said.