University celebrates changing season with Festival of Colors

CAILIN POTAMI
FAITH EDITOR

The University welcomed spring by celebrating the Indian Festival of Colors. Asia Club, the Residence Hall Association, United Colors Organization, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, International Club and the Asian studies department worked in conjunction to hold the event, traditionally known as Holi, on the Dionne Green Saturday. The event began at 4 p.m. Participants received white t-shirts to make the color of the powder stand out. The event’s hosts provided a dinner of traditional Indian food, like samosas, palek paneer and chicken tikka masala.

Abhijit Roy, Ph.D., of the marketing and management departments spoke briefly before the festival. He explained that Holi comes from Hindu religious tradition. It rejoices at the victory of good over evil as well as the arrival of spring.

The ritual consists of people celebrating in the streets by throwing multicolored powders into the air and spraying dyed water onto each other, which leaves participants covered in the bright shades of the season. Holi began in India, but it has since spread to Nepal, Sri Lanka and countries with Indian populations throughout the world.

“Due to the massive population of Indian diaspora,” Roy said, “the tradition has spread.”

The festivities began after Roy’s talk. Representatives of the event stood on the edges of the Green and distributed plastic bags of flour dyed purple, blue, green, yellow or pink. Polychromatic puffs of powder covered the green as people began to throw the powder at 4:45 p.m. The excitement lasted around 20 minutes before the event wrapped up and everyone helped to clear the green of discarded bags.

Roy said that typically a bonfire precedes the celebration, but The University did not hold that portion of the Holi celebration this year. Additionally, Holi actually fell on March 17 this year, but the cold weather prevented The University from holding the event until the end of April.

Sophomore Adela Parola appreciated the event.

“I loved [Holi]. The food was amazing, and the idea was really creative and awesome. It was tons of fun throwing colors at different people,” Parola said, “I learned that Holi was for the change of seasons and the colors represented the new season and the rebirth.

Sophomore Jackie Stash agreed with Parola.

“There was more to [Holi] than I expected … I was surprised to see so many people there and I thought it was really cool that so many people from so many backgrounds could participate,” Stash said.

Holi marked the beginning of the Asian-Pacific American Heritage month events that the Asian Studies program will host this year.

Contact the writer:
cailin.potami@scranton.edu

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