Holi is a celebration all students can enjoy

Holi is a celebration all students can enjoy

By Simran Devidasani

Ever since I was a little kid, the Indian holiday I would look forward to most was Holi — the festival of colors. After all, throwing colored powder on people, squirting water guns and dancing like lunatics are the types of things that little kids enjoy the most, or, at least, I did.

When my mother told me that her belief was that this holiday would allow me to cleanse myself of my sins and emphasize my good deeds, I was ecstatic because throwing colors and being a good person sounded amazing.

However, growing up, this holiday became more than just a silly tradition, but rather, a deeply rooted cultural experience that I could share with my friends and family — one that I think many people at the University might enjoy sharing as well.

Even though this holiday has roots in Hinduism, it is more of a festive holiday now that many people of other cultures take part in — similar to how I, as an Indian Hindu, celebrate Christmas.

Holi represents the triumph of good over evil. In other words, the “evil” was overpowered by the “good.”

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    It is celebrated near the approaching of a full moon and to mark the end of winter and the beginning of spring. This coming Saturday, students at the University will have a chance to celebrate the end of winter (and hopefully the end of the last snow) as there will be festivities taking place on campus to acknowledge Holi. I urge students to attend the celebration on Saturday at the Florida and Lincoln Playing Field as a way to experience a new culture while having fun in the process.

    Even in middle school and high school, I would excitedly tell my friends about Holi.

    I would say, “You basically go to a field, usually you wear white clothes, there are colors that you can throw, water guns you can squirt, and music that you can dance to.” From this description, I was able to get three friends — from Asian, Hispanic and African-American backgrounds, who all had different cultural celebrations — excited about the event and they decided to come to the Holi celebration with me.

    They stepped outside of their comfort zones and participated in a tradition they were not accustomed to and absolutely loved it.

    We all come from different backgrounds and religions where we have certain holidays and traditions — but instead of only acknowledging our own celebrations, one might really benefit from attending and informing themselves about other cultures.

    Holi is a simple way that many University students, faculty and staff from different backgrounds can come together to learn and appreciate Indian culture — or at least enjoy the festivities of another culture and religion.

    The significance of throwing colors around shows how you can brighten your life by adding good qualities. Moreover, the joys and festivities of music and the water guns adds to the happiness.

    But more than just the color powders that one throws, one can learn about the washing out of “evil” from Holi. Many holidays have lessons behind them — whether it is Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ or Eid, when people fast to honor virtues. 

    In other words, I personally have dedicated Holi to starting fresh and erasing the aspects I don’t like about myself — similar to a self-reflection analysis. 

    Many of us would benefit from that because we can correct our mistakes and move on from the past, which plays an important role in our mental health and future success. You don’t have to be Hindu to be able to take a look at yourself and assess what you could be improving on.

    When I saw that the University was hosting its own Holi this coming Saturday, I was glad to see that I could continue my tradition while being far away from home. Even more, though, I’m excited to spread the excitement and awareness of this holiday to my peers.

    Simran is a freshman in Media. She can be reached at [email protected].