Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Dancing in color: Students celebrate Holi

Ngan Vu
Augustana College students celebrate Holi, hosted by the Global Engagement Team, at Upper Quad on April 19.

Holi is an ancient celebration that dates back to the fourth century and is often accompanied by diverse mythical stories. However, at a universal level, Holi is a celebration of love, friendship and the welcoming of the spring. 

On April 19, the green blossoming trees in Augustana’s Upper Quad served as a setting for the Global Engagement Team’s campus colorful Gulal powder, thrown to celebrate Holi.

First-Year Dhwani Parekh said that the only difference that she noticed between celebrating Holi at Augustana versus celebrating it back at home was that no fire was lit and also that no “puja,” or worship, to the Gods was made. 

“Holi is based on theological beliefs,” Parkeh said. “One of the stories talks about a God who killed a demon named Holika by making the demon burn in fire. That is why we make big bonfires and view them as a representation of burning the evil.” 

Another popular myth talks about the love story between the God Krishna and the Goddess Radha. In this myth, the God Krishna, who had blue skin and was deeply in love with the Goddess, was afraid that the Goddess would reject him due to his blue skin. As a result, he decided to throw a party and toss colors at everyone in order to eliminate the differences. 

Tenzin Choedon, First-Year student, said unlike the fancy attire that is commonly worn in most Hindu traditions, during Holi most people wear white so that all the powder colors can show on their clothing. 

“During Holi, neighborhoods gather and throw colors at each other,” Choedon said. “This celebration is also a great opportunity to meet new people because a lot of the time strangers will come into the street and start throwing colors at you.”

All of the colors used during the Holi celebration have their own meaning. Blue represents the blue skin of the God Krishna, red implies fertility, green signifies spring and yellow symbolizes auspiciousness. 

First-Year Amiyah Woods, said she really enjoyed seeing all of the many ways in which people would play with the colors. 

“Some people would chase each other throwing colors as they played tag. However, water balloons with colors inside were also an option for those who felt like the weather was warm,” Woods said. 

Holi is not only a festival of colors, but also a feast of flavors and food. During the event attendees had the opportunity to try samosas, a fried pastry with potato filling and vegetables. 

“They also gave us mango lassi, which is a very iconic Indian drink that has a smoothie-like consistency and is very refreshing during the warm spring weather,” Choedon said. 

Holi is a celebration that has been widely spread throughout the world and it invites people to spread feelings of love, peace and happiness through the use of bright colorful powders and balloons. 

“I would love for everyone to have this experience because you can actually feel the love and the happiness being spread on you as you start to become covered in colors,” Woods said. 


Dhwani Parekh formerly worked for the Observer.

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