The Diversity Club at Keene State College (KSC) welcomed spring with a colorful party.
Friday outside the Young Student Center on the stage, there was Hindustani music surrounded by students with bags of colorful powder in their hands greeting spring.
Over 50 students participated in this paint party for Holi Festival, which included turning their free, white t-shirts into a complete new one with crazy and vibrant colors.
Adrianna Wright attended this paint party and said her favorite part was being able to get a free t-shirt and destroying the white plain shirt, only to turn it into a unique and colorful one. The shirts given out are a great way of remembering this cultural event. Wright said, “It’ll be nice to have a keepsake.”
Keene State’s Brianna Neely is part of the diversity club also known as Common Ground and took part in organizing this event on campus. Neely said that this paint party is dedicated to Holi, which is an Indian-Hindu festival of colors. She said the concept is to welcome spring and to sprinkle your loved ones with color and love.
Kate Chestna is another KSC student in the Common Ground Club who helped recreate this celebration for students. Chestna said that this spring tradition originated by having these bright colors and a big celebration because people within the culture believed it would drive out the evil demons that had come from the winter.
According to Holifestival.org, there are many significant aspects of the festival of color. In terms of mythological significance, the importance of religion and mythology, includes various legends associated with the festival. Cultural significance, “reassures the people of the power of the truth as the moral of all these legends [and] is the ultimate victory of good over evil.” Social significance describes how Holi helps bring their community together and strengthen their country. Lastly, in terms of biological significance, “Biologists believe the liquid dye or Abeer penetrates the body and enters into the pores. It has the effect of strengthening the ions in the body and adds health and beauty to it.”
While Holi Festival in India and some surrounding areas is celebrated in March, Neely said, “We kind of picked the day that we think will reach the most amount of people and within the same area. We try to do it within the same four-week period so we can reach the maximum amount of people, but still kind of stay as true to the tradition as we can.”
Neely and Chestna have been in Common Ground for about two years. The club has brought Holi to KSC every spring for about four years and will continue to do so.
Neely said usually at the KSC Festival of Colors, there are dancers that perform, but unfortunately they could not make it this year due to traveling issues.
Diversity is a very important issue on campus, Neely said. “I think this is a great event. It gives other students a chance to learn about the culture, the festival, but also to have fun and kind of just let loose. I mean how many different events do you have on campus where literally everyone’s just standing there throwing colored water and color at each other?”
Neely said going to events like this is a great way to meet new people and make connections. “I don’t know how many people I didn’t know that I went over to and just [threw a] bag of color on their head. It’s a great opportunity for people who maybe [do] not know each other and [want to] get involved and have experiences with each other that they wouldn’t necessarily have anywhere else.”
Chestna encouraged people to attend Holi at KSC next year. “Everybody should get to experience this, it’s great. I mean the clean-up process, scrubbing off, is a little tedious, but I mean it’s so much fun in the moment when you’re throwing colors at all these random people and just having so much fun, especially on a nice day like this.”
Kiana Wright can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org