Soaking Up Colors And Celebrating Spring At Holi Festival

Forget Marathon Monday.  The most colorful event this weekend took place Saturday on the BU Beach when more than 300 students crowded on a tarp to throw, smear and splash colors on each other for more than two hours in celebration of Holi.

Holi, known as the Festival of Colors, is a Hindu holiday that welcomes spring with a celebration of colors, music and dance.

“It’s a spring festival in Northern India. It celebrates the start of the harvest season for when the crops grow, when winter is over and everyone is happy and they dance. Just to welcome the spring,” said Hemal Patel (SMG ’11), who helped coordinate the event with the Boston University Hindu Students Council.

Holi is traditionally celebrated in late February or early March, but because of Boston’s long winters, the council decided to hold off on the festivities until April. While the weather on Saturday was still windy and biting, many students celebrated like it was spring, in sandals, shorts and t-shirts.

The pink, blue and green color used in the celebration is dyed talcum powder, which does wash out of clothes although it may take a few cycles, Patel said.

Holi celebrations in India shut down the streets and attract hundreds of thousands of people who douse each other in colored water as well as the dyed powder.

For some students who grew up in India, the celebration was a chance to relive their favorite holiday.

“I was born in India and the last time I did this I was six years old,” said Harvin Vallabhaneni (ENG ’14).  “It was my favorite holiday as a kid.”

For others, this was their first ever Holi celebration.

“I didn’t even know this existed until a couple of weeks ago,” said Habib Khan, a freshman engineering student. “I watched an episode of Outsourced and that’s how I learned about it.”

This was the first time Holi was celebrated on campus and the the Hindu Students Council hopes to have an even larger celebration next year, with up to 1,000 people.


About Heather Vandenengel

Heather Vandenengel (CAS '11) is a campus writer for the Quad.

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