Deidre Foley and Brian Healy
News Editor, Staff Writer
Students celebrated the beginning of spring by throwing powdered color at each other, bringing life to an otherwise overcast April 7. This was part of Holi, the Hindu festival of color and love, hosted by the Indian Student Organization (ISO).
The event on Welsh field was open to all students and drew a crowd of about 20 people. “We just have such a small South Asian community here at USF, so doing something like this really brings all of them together,” said ISO secretary Riya Kishnani. She added that there are many international students from India who do not have the ability to go home to celebrate with their families for the festival, so it’s nice to have a small celebration at USF.
Freshman Prerna Singh, who also celebrated Holi, added, “For Indian Americans who have never gone to India, this is their link to their culture. This is a form of participating in a tradition that they’ve been a part of, long before they were born. Keeping this cultural link is really important because if you lose if, you’ll lose the connection with who you are.”
Students with no links to South Asian culture were still highly encouraged to participate. “It’s important in our time, which far too many times is intolerant of other cultures, other legends, other people — we need to induce a sense of unity, of equality, and of community against people,” Singh said. “It’s important for people who are not aware of the culture… because you’re usually intolerant of something you don’t understand. This is an opening or gateway for them to enter a conversation with people who are part of the culture.”
While students adorned each other’s bodies and clothing with the powdered colors, some just stood at the sidelines and watched the celebration. “It’s fun to watch and I bet it’s a good stress reliever for everyone, especially considering everything that’s going on politically right now,” junior Jennifer Rodriguez said. “It’s good to take your mind off of stuff and embrace other cultures, and it just looks like a lot of fun.”
The festival celebrates the arrival of spring, but also has religious background. It celebrates the triumph of good over evil, tying back to a legend in which an evil king and his sister, Holika, were defeated by a god.
Photo: Sofia Deeb/ Foghorn