Penn State’s Indian Culture and Language club (ICLC) in conjunction with the South Asian Students Association (SASA) and the Indian Grad Student Association (IGSA) filled the HUB lawn with vibrant colors and water guns Sunday as the organizations celebrated Holi, a Hindu spring festival that celebrates color and love.
The holiday has its roots in the ancient story of the demon king Hiranyakashipu, king of Multan and his evil sister Holika who were defeated and burned for their arrogance. To celebrate, many people apply ash to their foreheads in remembrance of the symbolic victory of good over evil while colored powder eventually replaced the ash in some areas.
The holiday is a time for many to rid themselves of past errors, resolve conflicts and forgive. During this time, many people pay or forgive debts while looking forward to the start of spring.
Today, the ancient Hindu religious festival is celebrated not only by Hindus, but by many non-Hindus in Asia as well as all over the world.
While the event is typically celebrated at the end of winter, State College weather did not permit the celebration to be observed at that time and the organizations opted to observe the holiday on a more weather friendly weekend.
Those participating in the celebration of Holi were greeted with a playlist of Indian and western songs as well as large bags of colored powder and water guns to stay cool on the 72 degree day.
Manisha Yarlagadda, a senior majoring in accounting and Lexhmi Ramjit, a junior bioneuroscience major who are both members of SASA and JaDhoom, a fusion dance club on campus enjoyed seeing a diverse group of people out on the lawn Sunday.
“A lot of people who don’t know a lot about Indian culture will still come to this event,” Yarlagadda said. “Even if you don’t know anyone, you’ll still have fun.”
Ramjit echoed similar sentiments and said that she looks forward to the event every year. “I enjoy the actual playing the most. It’s like a giant colorful water fight,” Ramjit said.
As the event continued on, more and more people filled the HUB lawn, many who knew nothing about the holiday but were attracted by the music and colors.
“I don’t know anything about this holiday, but I just like the colors,” Zaria Wood, a sophomore majoring in recreation, park and tourism management said. “It’s so cool, I think it’s important for different cultures to have their traditions shown like this.”