The University’s Asia Club, in conjunction with Residence Life and the Office of Multicultural Affairs, celebrated its annual Holi festival on the DeNaples Patio and the Dionne Saturday.
The event commenced with Dr. Abhijit Roy, Ph.D., from the marketing department providing participants with a brief background of Holi.
He said that Holi is an Indian festival that is celebrated to welcome the beginning of spring.
It is usually celebrated near the beginning of March in the tropical regions of India.
During the festival, celebrants play with colored powder by throwing it in the air and at each other.
They play to show love for family. The various colors represent the blooming of flowers.
It is often part of the tradition that celebrants burn old things in a bonfire celebration the night before.
Although Holi originated among people of the Hindu tradition, the holiday is open to people of any religious tradition.
Sophomore Keeshan Patel said that because of India’s religious diversity, they try to keep it inclusive to all religious traditions; however, many still find a religious connection in the celebration.
“The way I see it is that I find a spiritual connection to God, but through the connections I make with the people I meet,” junior Deepa Patel said.
Roy’s opening remarks were followed by members of The University’s Asia Club, members of Residence Life and volunteers serving authentic Indian cuisine from Mayuri, which is a restaurant in Scranton.
After eating, the actual Holi celebration began and students were free to begin throwing colorful powder at each other on the Green.
Junior Gwenny Gunawan, and president of the Asia Club, said she and the Asia Club had been organizing this year’s Holi since last year when they made their reservation for the Green.
Last year was the first time Asia Club joined with Residence Life in planning the event, and they had a record-breaking number of more than 200 participants. Attendance has improved since then. This year the number of participants doubled.
Gunawan said that because the event was open to the public, they had a large group of off-campus participants, including students from Lackawanna College who did a project relating to the event.
Many students from The University attended out of personal interest in the fun event or to further their understanding of cultures that differ from their own.
“I learned about it in Religions of the World (class) when we visited a Hindu temple. I wanted to experience it for myself,” junior Andrea Zupko said.
Gunawan said that she hopes that more people attend each year.