Holi is best known as the festival of colors and leaves the festival-goers coated in color by the end of the day.
On March 29, the International Student Services hosted their biggest spring event. Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, was held in the Kelley Commons area behind Blum. Food was provided by Godavari, an Indian restaurant in Kansas City, along with free t-shirts. This is their first event through the Indian and Nepal Student Association (IANSA).
IANSA member Srinitha Mandadi gives her opinion on why she thinks Holi is important for other students to attend.
“It is a great event to tell Americans and other international students about the Holi Festival we celebrate in India and Nepal and we can tell about the food and what Holi is about,” Mandadi said.
Holi is considered one of the most revered and celebrated festivals of India. It is celebrated in almost every part of the country. Holi is also referred to as the “festival of love” because on this day people get to unite together and forget all resentments and all types of bad feelings towards one another.
Center for Multicultral Events Program Assistant Dianah Hidzir gives insight on what Holi is and why it is celebrated.
“It is basically a festival of colors and it initiated in India,” Hidzir said. “It is a huge celebration that they have annually every spring just to welcome the season and to eliminate evil spirits and welcome the good spirits. So, regardless of religion and skin color, everybody plays with color and that is what it is all about.”
The Indian festival begins on the evening of the full moon, between the end of February and the middle of March, carrying on into the next day. The first evening is known as Holika Dahan or Chhoti Holi. Traditionally, festival-goers gather around a bonfire to celebrate the victory of good over evil. They perform religious rituals which include prayers that any evil inside of them is destroyed.
The vibrancy of colors is something that brings in a lot of positivity. On the day of Holi, people play with colors with their friends and families. The colored powder, also known as gulal, comes from the legend of Khrisna. Anyone at Holi is fair game to be covered in the powder as a celebration. The powder also signifies the coming of spring and all the new colors it brings to nature.
IANSA member Payal Verma tells why it is different to celebrate Holi here rather than in her home country, India.
“It is different because here we celebrate it for about two to three hours with students but back in India and Nepal it’s a festival so all of our family members are involved and we plan ahead for a month,” Verma said. “We prepare what food we are having, new clothes and what colors to use. It is fun to have Holi here; we are away from our home country so it is a good way to celebrate our festival so that our international students don’t feel homesick during their festivals. It is a good way to have fun.”
Historically, the gulal was made of turmeric, paste and flower extracts, but today synthetic versions are largely used. The four main powder colors are used to represent different things. Red reflects love and fertility, blue is the color of Krishna, yellow is the color of turmeric and green symbolizes spring and new beginnings.
Hidzir gives reasons why students benefit from coming to this event.
“Attending this event you do get educated about different cultures around the world, especially with a small school like this; you usually don’t get events like this if you don’t travel the world. You can experience India if you come to events like this. Also, you can have fun regardless of what country you come from, regardless if you are a senior, junior or freshman. You can experience what we organize on campus. We get to know each other! It is just to get involved outside of the classroom as well,” Hidzir said.
For more events coming up through the India and Nepal Student Association, be on the lookout for flyers posted around campus.