Hindi Holi sees flying colors

By Victoria O’Connor


University of the Incarnate Word students, faculty and staff celebrated diversity, friendship and spring Thursday, March 1, at the sixth annual Holi event, “Festival of Colors.”

“Holi is a celebration of good over evil, and also bringing in spring,” said Sheena Connell, assistant director of International Scholar Services. “It’s a Hindu celebration, but it is practiced in many different countries and also adopted by many neighboring countries. Even if you’re not Hindu, you can still participate.”

The Hindu-inspired festival was a collaboration from the Campus Engagement and International Affairs offices as the event featured international music, dance performances, a World Market and free food provided by Pasha Express.

“We wanted to make sure we had a festival vibe with food, shirts and music,” Nataly Lopez, assistant director for Campus Engagement, said. “We have collaborated with International Affairs to bring on some of these elements, which is a lot of the elements we bring in programming, while International Affairs definitely brought on the cultural vendors.”

The first half of the event was presented as an international fair, offering handmade gifts and artwork for purchase from different international vendors and student organizations.

“We’ve gotten a lot more vendors representing a lot of different countries,” Connell said. “We have a lot of our student staff who (are) international, so they’re helping behind the scenes.”

This new set-up allowed attendees to have time to shop and participate in the tradition of colorthrowing during the event.

“We’ve separated out,” Connell said. “Before, it was just one big Holi event where the fair and market was happening at the same time as the color-throwing. This time we’ve separated it out and made each thing individual, just so we could accommodate more participating during the color-throwing.”

The throwing of the colors was the finale of the event, split into two rounds. Students and faculty were given free white T-shirts and colored pigment to throw at each other in celebration of the spring season.

“We invite everyone on campus [to participate], so it’s not just students, but staff as well,” Connell said.

Lopez believes the Festival of Colors will continue to grow in popularity throughout the years, as well as plans to expand the event more.

“[The Festival of Colors] has grown a lot,” Lopez said. “It was probably half this size the first few years. There are still students finding out what Holi is, so we still have room to grow. Hopefully in the next two years it will be across campus.”

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