Herd Holi to celebrate spring, forgiveness with burst of color


Photo courtesy of Anastasia Artayet Shepherd

Students participate in Herd Holi in 2015 on Buskirk Field.


The fourth annual Herd Holi, a celebration of color, friendship and spring, will be Thursday at 6 p.m on Marshall University’s Buskirk Field.

“Holi is (a) popular ancient festival in India where people smear each other with colors and drench each other,” said Vansh Patel, a member of the Indian Student Association and co-organizer of the Herd Holi event. “On this day, we get together, play and celebrate it with joy. So that is the reason we celebrate Holi in Marshall and give the name as Herd Holi.”

Holi is a festival of color in India where people get together, letting their past anger toward one another go, said Anastasia Shepherd, student service specialist for INTO and co-organizer of the event. 

“The vibrancy of colored powder thrown symbolizes the triumph of good over evil,” Shepherd said.

Additionally, India sees Holi as an important festival signifying the arrival of spring along with the end of winter, Patel said.

Patel said he thinks Marshall is a diverse campus and Herd Holi is one of the many events that shows that.

 Holi can remind students from India of their childhood and introduce others to a part of their culture that means a lot to them, Patel said.

“Due to this event, many students can meet new students and make new friends,” Patel said. “This is also way to learn and get know about other religions and their festivals.”

The campus and community can celebrate one another in a “vibrant way that’s unique to a culture that many people in our area have not yet experienced,” Shepherd said.

“The Indian Student Association and I wanted to create a celebration of friends and family where we could all get together to not only celebrate Holi in India but the end of the Marshall semester and the beginning of spring in West Virginia,” Shepherd said. 

Holi is an event for everyone which is open to people of any age, any race and any religion. Everyone can celebrate and be part of Holi, Patel said.

There were more than 300 attendees at the event when it was first celebrated in 2015, Shepherd said.

Herd Holi is free and open to the public.

Tiara Brown can be contacted at [email protected]