Students participate in annual Holi celebration on the quad

South Asian Student Association has worked to grow the event each year

Students participate in annual Holi celebration on the quad

Students participate in Holi on the quad, an annual celebration held this year on April 7. 

AU’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) and the Hindu Student Association co-hosted a cultural celebration Sunday, April 7 on the quad in observance of the Hindu festival Holi. 

The day included food, music, performances and a dance. Participants played with brightly-colored powder that symbolizes the rebirth of spring, the end of winter and the triumph of good over evil.

SASA provided free shirts and a catered meal. The American Bhangra Crew, a team of student dancers, showcased a genre of dance from Punjab, a Northern region of India. Later, colored powder flew as participants danced on the quad.

Organizers said they had to book the quad a year in advance for this event. SASA is working on growing this annual event.

“Every year, we try to make it a little bigger,” SASA President Sumita Bhattarai said. “Last year, we didn’t have shirts, and this year we have shirts. We have a lot more food this time around, too.”

Although this was a Hindu cultural and religious event, all were welcome.

“Being in America as an Indian, it’s about bringing my friends who aren’t Indian and sharing the culture with them,” freshman Saumya Mangalick said.

Holi is traditionally celebrated in India and Nepal. Though the holiday celebrations have begun to spread to other areas of the world, Holi remains most significant in these countries -- and the scale of Holi is entirely unmatched elsewhere.

This year, Holi began on March 20. As is tradition, people dance and play in the streets, visit loved ones and eat Holi delicacies, food and drinks. The play and fight with colors occurs in public, and any friend, relative or stranger is fair game. Drum groups march down the streets. It is a time of celebration -- Holi is often referred to as “the festival of colors” or “the festival of love.”

“When I was in Nepal, you would walk down the street and you’d have kids from balconies of other houses throw color at you,” Bhattarai said. “It’s always been a happy day. To me, I’ve been told since I was little that it’s the day of good over evil. Altogether, it’s just a happy day of celebration.”

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