A Festival of Color: Holi Comes to Hamilton

By Madeleine Cerone

As I approached Babbitt Pavilion on Saturday, April 22, I watched the students running, laughing, and shouting with joy and excitement. Colorful powder caught the wind and flew through the air, and when I got closer, I could see that the people under and around the pavilion were covered from head to toe in colors like red, orange, yellow, and pink! Suddenly, a burst of color splashed me and welcomed me into the fun. I smiled; the joy and excitement of the students around me was contagious.

The Asian Student Union and the International Cultural Association were celebrating Holi, a holiday celebrated in March in many Asian countries, where throwing colored chalk and splashing others with water is a part of the fun! This Hindu celebration originated in India and is reflected in many stories from ancient Indian scripture, dating back to the 4th century (time.com). Colors like pink, blue, yellow, orange and red are thrown onto one another during this holiday, and each color represents a different idea. 

Holi is largely a celebration of rebirth and the triumph of goodness over evil spirits, which is reflected in the spring-time date of the festival and the vibrant colors of the chalk. When speaking with DMC ambassador and member of ASU, Kritika Ghimire, she told me that some of her favorite Holi colors include red and yellow. “Red symbolizes love and passion, reminding me of the close bonds I share with my family and friends,” she mentioned. Some of the other symbols include green for new beginnings. When the colors are washed off later on, it is like starting fresh.

Spending time with family over meals, song, and dance are some other important customs that come with Holi celebrations. “One of my fondest memories of celebrating Holi with my family is when we would all wake up early in the morning, prepare delicious food, and eagerly wait for our relatives and friends to join us. We would play with colors, sing, and dance together,” Kritika shared. Lassi, one of the popular drinks served during Holi, was available for the students underneath Babbitt Pavilion along with some Minar catering. Lassi is a type of yogurt drink, perfectly refreshing for what is normally a hot day of partying. It comes in sweet and savory flavors, and it looks delicious!

But the most important part of Holi was the atmosphere. The smiles, laughter, and joyousness was so infectious and it showed through the colors and food, the truest meaning behind the holiday is the time with family and the celebration of starting over, and working towards a better, newer lifestyle.  “My favorite part of Holi is the sense of unity and happiness it brings, as everyone forgets their worries and comes together in a vibrant celebration,” Kritika shared. Every person underneath Babbitt Pavilion was so bright, and so excited to celebrate Holi whether it be a familiar or new experience. Even though she misses spending this celebration with her loved ones in Nepal, Kritika is glad to work together with her peers to “try to share the spirit of Holi with my new friends here and introduce them to this beautiful festival.” As I watched people from all walks of life and all ages running around together, laughing and smiling, I felt grateful to be able to experience this joyful holiday with them.

Thank you to the Asian Student Union and the International Cultural Association for bringing this festival of color to campus! We can’t wait to keep celebrating with you.

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Days-Massolo Center

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Koboul E. Mansour, Ph.D

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Days-Massolo Center

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