Students Celebrate Hindu Festival
Passersby of the Malkin Athletic Center Quadrangle were treated to a riotous sight yesterday afternoon of some 20 members from the Hindu student group Dharma and the South Asian Association (SAA) throwing colored dust all over each other.
Dharma and SAA were celebrating Holi, a Hindu festival which welcomes spring, and is normally celebrated in mid-March after a bonfire the night before to clear up dried leaves and branches left through the winter.
It was part of the spirit of the festival that the participants were all eager to explain aspects of the festival.
According to Sameer A. Sheth '98, treasurer of Dharma, the colors represent aspects of nature such as heat, leaves, and sun.
"[Holi] is meant to be bright, leaving behind the cold of winter," said Rohin T. Malhotra '98, co-president of Dharma. "I think a good word is 'renewal."
Maneesh R. Amancharla '00 said that there are many stories attached to Holi, and the stories that people chose to celebrate Holi for differ from region to region in India.
"This is as much a gateway to celebrate the arrival of spring as it is a way to celebrate a season of love...the triumph of good over evil," Amancharla said.
The warmth of the camaraderie almost made the participants forget that there was one visitor missing.
"We forgot to invite spring," said Syeda T. Hossain '99.
Monica B. Shah '99, the secretary of Dharma, said she believed more people would have come outside to the quad if it had not been for the cold weather.
Still, those who did attend said they had a lot of fun.
"It used to be religious, but now it's more cultural and social," said Sheth.
In their attempt to include everyone in on the fun, the students splashed the dust-like colors all over the clearing, the tables set with Indian foods such as coconut chum chum and pistachio burfee--and the reporter.
"Color, anyone?" and "Hey, there's an Indian without any color," were some of the students' most common cries, to the tune of soundtracks from Holi scenes in Hindi films playing on stereo systems they brought to the quad.
A couple hours later, as they started to clean up, Holi organizers said they were happy with how the celebration turned out.
According to the organizers, Dharma and SAA plan to celebrate Holi next year, too--hopefully with warmer weather.