Annual Holi Celebration Unites Colgate Community

Julia Klein

On Saturday, April 29, students, faculty and members of the Hamilton community gathered on Whitnall Field to celebrate Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors. Hosted by the Hindu Students Association, about 100 people of all age groups were able to relax and spend time with friends while covering one another in colorful powder, enjoying Royal India Grill and posing for bright and artistic photographs.

This highly acclaimed event is an annual favorite. Holi gives students an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and get everyone in the community involved.

“My friends and I went because it was a highlight of our last year, and it was a great way to de-stress during this busy time. We love the food and the excitement of getting covered in colored powder,” sophomore Diana Costin said.

Sophomore Phuong Mac felt similarly. 

“At the Holi Festival this year, I decided to sit from a distance and observe the scenes of people celebrating such a beautiful and meaningful event. The beauty that I saw wasn’t just the colorful powder sprinkled on everyone’s body and clothing, but also the happy moments that individuals from all walks of life shared. All existing problems seemed to have ceased at those moments and were replaced by moments of pure joy. I found myself enjoying those moments as well,” Mac said.

Holi honors spring’s arrival, cultivating new friendships and forgiving others for their mistakes. The festival is primarily celebrated in India as well as other parts of South Asia. In America, we have adapted it to celebrate the changing seasons and communal love and acceptance. More specifically, at Colgate, this event created a space for the interfaith community to honor and support members of the Hindu community.

For Hindu students, the event was particularly important, as members of the community had the opportunity to share a special tradition from home with their friends. For others, it was a great way to learn more about the Hindu culture.

“I attended [the event] because it’s a huge annual celebration back at home and the event on-campus allowed me to enjoy it with friends who haven’t experienced the festival before. The food was a huge bonus too,” sophomore Rohan Chaudhari said. 

Emily Kahn, a sophomore and the secretary of the Colgate Jewish Union, also appreciated the emphasis on the interfaith community as the event fostered a sense of acceptance of the different religious groups on campus. 

“As a member of the Colgate Jewish Union, I love to support events led by other religious groups. To me, Holi’s emphasis on celebrating the triumph of good over evil through repairing strained relationships and welcoming in a new season makes it the perfect interfaith event. Holi is one of the events I look forward to most during the Spring semester,” Kahn said.

His first time attending the event, junior Ricky Fernández said that he felt welcomed by the leaders of the Hindu Students Association and was excited to learn more about the culture behind this fun tradition.

“I had a blast. The vibe was very communal and open,” Fernández said. 

Overall, the event was a great way to bring the community together and celebrate the end of the semester one last time before the summer.

“It was a really fun experience, and I really enjoyed being able to take part in this tradition!” sophomore Emily Wortmann said.