Gustavus celebrates the beginning of spring with Holi celebration

Emily VanGorder  – Staff Writer

Gustavus is holding a Holi celebration between 5 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 10 on the grounds between IC and Beck. The event is being hosted by Crossroads, International Center Hall Council and the Muslim Students Association (MSA).
Holi is a traditional Hindu celebration that observes a number of religious and secular events, including the relationship between Hindi deities Radha and Krishna, the triumph of good over evil and the beginning of spring. Holi lasts for a full 24 hours, beginning on the evening of Purnima, or full moon day. This year, Holi was celebrated across the world on March 28-29.
The celebration has spread from Nepal and India, where it originated, and is celebrated throughout the world and across numerous diasporas by Hindus and non-Hindus alike.
Senior Aimen Zara planned this year’s celebration.
“Personally, some of my closest friends celebrate Holi and I wanted to make sure that they could have the space and opportunity to celebrate and share this experience with the larger Gustavus community,” Zara said.
The Holi celebration traditionally begins with bonfires and prayer, and picks up the next morning with the bright festival of colors. People and performers play music, sing, and dance through the streets. Later that evening, people usually visit with friends and family and eat traditional foods associated with Holi.
“It’s a time for friends and family to get together and enjoy the day together by throwing lots of color at each other… There’s a phrase used for the day of Holi that translates into “Don’t mind. It’s Holi”which means anyone who is outside their house is free rein and can be doused in color, because that’s the spirit of Holi. Strangers become friends,” Zara said.
The celebration on campus will consist of a water and color fight, after which participants will receive traditional Indian food. Students will also receive a white mask to wear during the water and color fight, and though the colors should wash out of clothing, are recommended to wear things that do not mind getting dirty.
Planning and creating this event was important to Zara, who attended a past Holi celebration while at Gustavus.
“I was able to attend one… sponsored by the [MSA] and the International Cultures Club. It was so much fun, [and is] one of my fondest memories at Gustavus. I think cultural and religious celebrations such as Holi should be celebrated and observed across campus regularly because it shows not only the diversity of our campus but also our commitment to respecting, appreciating, and upholding that diversity,” Zara said.

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