Holi: A Festival of Colors

By Megan Petersen '15, Copy Editor Holi, the Hindu spring festival of colors, was held last Friday and was a huge success, according to those involved with the event.

The festival, which involves throwing fistfuls of colored powder at everyone and anyone and having a ton of fun making a very, very big mess. Celebrating the coming of spring, Holi is an annual tradition in India and in Indian communities around the world. The 5C Hindu Society, Etka (the South Asian Student Association), Scripps Associated Students and the McAlister Center’s Office of the Chaplains sponsored the event. “Holi is a festival of spring and rejuvenation,” said Sameera Mokkarala (PO ‘12), a co-president of Etka. “I think the celebration [Friday] really captured that spirit.”

“No one’s polite, which is part of the fun,” said Nikita Gettu (‘14), another co-president of Etka, . “It’s very carefree.”

The celebration stems from a number of legends (including one about a brother and sister named Prahlad and Holika, from whose name Holi derives), whose common theme is the triumph of good over evil. Though co-sponsored by the Office of the Chaplains, Holi at the 5Cs is not associated with any religion, making the event open and welcoming to anyone who wants to join in.

“I think it is a great event because it brings people from different backgrounds across the 5Cs together in an environment much different than the average Saturday night party,” said Tania Bhatia (‘13) of the Hindu Society.

Poonam Daryani (‘13), also of the Hindu Society, shared a similar sentiment. “[T]he best part of Holi [is] that everyone and anyone comes together to share in such a colorful celebration.”

Along with a record amount of loose colored powder, the sponsors also provided powder mixed with water, tarps and water for sliding, music and food. Traditionally, participants wear white to show off the colors, and the powder also sticks to skin and hair, sometimes even making it hard to identify people because they’re so colorful.

Gettu said that at last year’s Holi festival, around 400 people from all five colleges turned out, and that a similar number turned out for this year’s event.

“I couldn’t be happier with how it went, and I’m really grateful to all the members of the Claremont College community who came by to support us and join in the fun,” said Mokkarala.

Many of those involved said that people have been asking about Holi since the beginning of the year, and that many people have come to look forward to it. “When I first came to Scripps, not many people knew what Holi was, and now numerous individuals approach me and say that it’s their favorite event of the year,” Daryani said. “The growth of the event is a huge indicator as to how much the South Asian community has unified to spread awareness of South Asian issues and encourage the participation of all individuals in Claremont. ...We already look forward to going bigger next year!”

If you missed Holi or want more opportunities to get your South Asian on, be sure to check out Sanskriti, a free culture show to be held in Garrison 6:30-8 p.m on Saturday, March 31, featuring Bollywood, classical dance, Bhangra, musical performances and more, plus a social with South Asian refreshments the hour before the performance.