A crowd of almost 50 Keene State College students and faculty members gathered on the lawn of the L.P Young Student Center over the weekend where they covered themselves in colored powder in celebration of the ancient Hindu Festival of Color, Holi.
The Holi celebration took place on May 1 from 3:00 to 4:30 p.m. Students and faculty members assembled in front of the student center where they were entertained with both modern music and Holi songs, free t-shirts and Bhangra Dancers, who engaged with the crowd through group style, folk dances.
Junior Harpreet Kaur stated that Holi, also known as Holla Mohalla, is a day of celebrating the coming of spring as well as forgiveness and forgetting past errors.
“I am Indian/ Punjabi and we celebrate Holi/ Holla Mohalla every year,” Kaur said.
Kaur continued, “I am not Hindu but I am Sikh and in the Sikh religion we celebrate Holla Mohalla. It is a day
of celebrating the coming of spring and just celebrating my culture. It symbolizes the colorful side of my culture and I love it,” Kaur stated.
She continued, “I am bringing a piece of my culture back to Keene and sharing it with the KSC and Keene community.”
Sophomore Brendan Callery added that Holi is a time for people to throw away their sins and mistakes.
Senior Jessica Pierre stated that the Holi celebration was put on by the office of Multicultural Student support in collaboration with Common Ground.
“Last year one of the students, Harpreet Kaur, came to the Multicultural Office and proposed the idea for Holi and we did it for the first time last year.” Pieree continued.
“We loved it so we decided to have it again,” Pierre stated.
Pierre added that the Office of Multicultural Student Support does plan on having the Holi celebration every year.
Kaur stated that she has brought dancers in from Boston for the Holi celebration.
“Last year I brought dancers to KSC from Boston and this year I brought another Bhangra Dance tram from Boston and they were amazing. Bhangra is a folk dance originating in Northern India in the State of Punjab,” Kaur stated.
In terms of the throwing of colors, Pierre stated that it symbolizes love and happiness to the people around us.
Kaur added that this religious holiday should not be grouped with the color run on account of both events throwing around and covering participants in colored powder.
“It is a religious holiday and it is cultural. It is not to be compared to the color run because Holi has been celebrated for many years and comparing it to the color run is a mistake because it doesn’t show the cultural aspect nor religious,” Kaur stated.
For those who participated in the Holi celebration, Callery stated that he hopes students got a new outlook on the Indian culture.
“I also hope they realize that life can be stressful and sometimes [no matter what age/race/culture/religion] we need to come together and throw away our worries unified, because from the beginning to the end that’s what has mattered,” Callery stated.
Pierre added, “Just like every event we put on we hope the campus community gets a better understanding of other culture’s traditions and become more open in their ways of thinking about diversity.”
Brogan Wessell can be contacted at email@example.com