Hindu Student Association Celebrates Holi 2023


The Colgate Hindu Student Association (HSA) held a celebration of Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, on Saturday, April 15 on Whitnall Field. The celebration featured music, outdoor games and throwing water balloons and colored dyes at each other. Royal India Grill also offered a special menu at the event, featuring Indian delicacies and desserts.

Holi is a Hindu festival that celebrates the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil. It also marks an occasion for people to repair relationships and end conflicts with one another.  This year, Holi was on March 8, but the date changes every year due to the Hindu calendar being based on both solar and lunar cycles.

The night before Holi, funeral pyres are lit to signify the burning of evil spirits. The next day, people celebrate all day long by throwing vibrant, colorful organic powders at each other, dancing to music and eating traditional delicacies. While this is how Holi is traditionally celebrated, students needed to make adjustments based on the circumstances of living on campus. Senior Saniya Dalvi spoke about the celebration at Colgate this year. 

“It’s different because Holi is traditionally celebrated with family, but because Holi isn’t a school holiday, there was no break, so we had our friends, who sort of became our family,” Dalvi said. “Holi usually takes up the whole day, but this time it was only a chunk of time. Every time a new person joins, they are hosed down, but we also tried to save more water than usual.”

Holi is celebrated throughout the entire Indian subcontinent, an area rich with unique local traditions. This meant that Colgate students needed to find a way to celebrate that would be meaningful for everyone involved. 

“Holi represents a really, really fun tradition where people get to go every year. It’s a Colgate tradition just as much as it is a Hindu tradition,” Dalvi said, “The HSA has lots of students from different backgrounds, so celebrations vary. Everyone is coming from a different region in India. There is so much variety, so we discuss with students to find a celebration that is meaningful for all involved.”

While Holi is a Hindu festival, the celebration was open to anyone who wished to come and join in the festivities. First-year Harshitha Talasila talked about the openness of the celebration.

“Anyone is welcome to join us for all the events,” Talasila said, “It represents the gathering of community and the ability to interact with our religion in a major way on campus. Many Hindu festivals are community-oriented and Holi is no different.”

Junior Nilesh Shah also spoke to the inclusiveness of the celebration, citing diversity as an inherent aspect of Holi.

“This carnival of colors represents the unity and diversity of our student body, transcending boundaries of caste, creed, or religion,” Shah said.

On Friday, April 28, the HSA will host Ram Navami, a celebration of the birth of the deity Rama. This will be a crossover event with the Baking Club and the Tea Club, featuring chai and homemade gulab jamun. The event is open to all who wish to celebrate and learn about Hindu culture.