Students embrace Holi, the festival of colors


Molly Dotson

Kishore Bandarupalli, graduate student in the school of technology is carried by a group of friends Saturday at the HOLI event in the Library Quad.

Analicia Haynes, Online Editor

A cloud of colorful smoke hovered over multiple tie-dyed and smiling faces in the Library Quad Saturday afternoon as the Hindu Festival of Colors, otherwise known as Holi, unfolded.

Bright, tinted powders of red, pink, green and yellow were nestled in the cupped hands of participants.

Participants threw the powder at each other as they ran laughing across the Quad, with sounds of India playing from a large speaker.

Tanmay Pant, a graduate student studying sustainable energy, said there are different traditions practiced in different parts of India when it comes to Holi.

The festival can be celebrated on different days as well.

What stays the same is the atmosphere that surrounds Holi.

Pant recalled a memory of celebrating Holi back at his home in Eastern India.
“It is like a community, friendly experience,” Pant said. “We go to everyone’s house in the community, they have dishes and food stuff outside their houses.”

A member of the Association of International Students, Pant said he and others try to bridge the gap between the different communities at Eastern.

One way to do so, he said, is by bringing traditional celebrations to campus.

“It’s a good experience and I like it,” Pant said. “It’s exhilarating.”

As the colors and water that filled two gray tubs flew across the Quad, marking their next happy victim, students cheered, smiled and hugged one another.

Lavanya Nemmani, a graduate student studying technology, said Holi is a festival based on a spiritual belief.

She said she is happy to be celebrating it at Eastern.

“It is happy because we have come so far from our country and we are missing these kinds of events, so it’s really exciting,” Nemmani said.

Nemmani said cultural events such as Holi are a way to bring awareness about multiculturalism to campus and build mutual respect between different cultures and groups of people.

Alayna Moore, a senior sociology major, spent her first Holi experience chasing her friend Hunter Worthey, a history major, and splashing the colors in her face.

“Learning about different cultures and celebrations is kind of my thing,” Moore said.

Moore said bringing cultural events such as Holi to campus shows that Eastern and its community are not just “a one genre thing.”

Alex Bonnot, a senior English language arts major, invited her dad and his girlfriend to the festival, warning them to layer up to brace the cold.

Clinging to herself, arms crossed in front of her, Bonnot shivered, covered in color dust and water, but said she had “so much fun.”

“It makes me see the different sides of different cultures and see what they get to do with themselves,” Bonnot said. “It’s kind of cool to see all these students that I normally see at work out here having fun … (It) is so much fun and we get to connect with each other.”

Bonnot’s dad’s girlfriend, Dawn Knauf, who mirrored Bonnot in a colorful mess of paint dust and water, said any cultural event such as Holi is a way to bring people together.

“(The festival is) just wonderful to be around,” Knauf said.
Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].