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Holi fosters community and education on campus

On Saturday, April 29, Augie International will be hosting the third annual celebration of the Hindu festival, Holi, here on Augustana’s campus.

Holi, which is primarily celebrated in India and Nepal, is a festival that focuses on welcoming the spring and highlighting the love of the two Hindu deities Krishna and Radha, explained freshman Aditi Marella.

“[Holi] actually goes way back into ancient scriptures, there’s a big story behind it,” Marella said.  “For me at least…it’s not really a religious thing I would say, it does have religious roots, but it’s more a cultural thing for me.”

According to Marella, Holi is a great time for family and friends to get together and just have fun throwing colors, dancing, and eating good food.  In fact, some people even have competitions to see who can last the longest without getting color on them.

“It’s actually really vibrant and sometimes it can get kind of out of hand, and people go crazy, but it’s mostly just to enjoy being together and just having fun,” Marella illustrated.

Senior and previous executive member of Augie International, Savi Jayawardana, agrees that Holi is really a great time for people to come together.  

“The meaning [of Holi] is for everyone to come together and set their differences aside,” said Jayawardana. “And everyone just turning into like a multicolored rainbow kind of thing is really just like a metaphor for like ‘let’s just all be like this one kind of person, and just one human being’”.

Jayawardana explained that Holi makes it easier for people to come together and communicate without the awkwardness of daily life, and hopes that Holi will act as a chance for the Augie community to experience this.

Both Jayawardana and Marella agree that as Augustana students who celebrate Holi, being able to participate in the festival on campus is not only a great way to share their culture, but helps them to feel more accepted at school.

“To be able to do this on Augustana’s campus is just like a really big deal for not only students who have that cultural background but also just any international student…who knows that things like this happen on campus.  That there’s a medium, an outlet there for cultural expression,” Jayawardana explained.

As for what students can expect of Holi here at Augie, junior and President of Augie International, Adiba Hasan, explained that students should be prepared to get dirty and covered in color.  She also emphasized that not only is Holi here at Augie a fun and vibrant celebration, but it is a great educational experience.

“Augie International is trying to not only educate but encourage students to come to international students,” Hasan stated.  “America itself can have so many diverse cultures…this is a way for them to gain understanding of another culture.”

On the day of the event, students will be given one pound of color powder, and access to a whole selection of Indian foods along with the purchase of a ticket, Hasan explained.  Students can also expect to see president Bahls joining in on the celebration of Holi.  

Overall, Holi is a great way for Augustana students to have fun and learn about other cultures.  Hasan, Jayawardana, and Marella all shared the view that Holi encourages community, and that by bringing Holi to Augie, students will be able to share in this community experience that is such a big celebration all over the world.

“We’re here trying to build a community,” said Hasan. “We’re here trying to make everyone come together through this event.”