Holi festival celebrates start of spring, traditional Hindu holiday

The Indian Students Association and the Hindu Students Council held the event called Holi: the Festival of Colors. Holi, a traditional Hindu festivity, comes from a symbolic legend in which a demon king’s son, Prahlada, defeated his own evil father, Hiranyakashipu, and aunt, Holika, by remaining devoted to Lord Vishnu — a symbolic victory of good over evil. The festival’s name originated from the name of the aunt, Holika, whom Prahlada defeated.

Even before the event had begun, students already looked excited, including senior Alyssa Rosenfeld, who said she had attended all three Holi celebrations in the previous years and enjoyed the variety of people she saw participating.

“I love just seeing all of the colors and all of the different people that come together, because it is always different people from all different cultures coming together,” Rosenfeld said.

Traditionally, colorful powders made from medicine were thrown to ward off colds and viruses that were brought by spring. Though the powders used are no longer medicinal, the tradition of their bright colors remains. The event, held for the fourth consecutive year at the University of Miami, also provided students with water balloons and featured a water slide for the first time.

Sophomore Zahra Markatia playfully throws water at Senior Suyog Padgaonkar for the Festival of Colors on Foote Green Saturday. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer
Sophomore Zahra Markatia playfully throws water at senior Suyog Padgaonkar for the Festival of Colors on Foote Green Saturday. Erum Kidwai // Staff Photographer

Indian Students Association President Karthik Narayanan said it was important to keep bringing this particular event back because it allowed Indian culture to be felt on campus.

“In terms of college campuses across the country, the University of Miami Indian population isn’t as big as in other universities,” Narayanan said. “This event in particular is a hallmark event that lets everyone on campus know that the Indian presence and culture here is strong.”

With more than 100 pounds of colored powder – twice the amount from last year – students ran around chasing one another with smiles and laughter. Although many students arrived in groups, they dispersed and mixed across the Green throughout the event, something freshman Arshia Arora said was one of the best parts of the event.

“You don’t have to know the person to throw color at them,” Arora said.