Holi and India Day begin with colorful celebration, gives insight into Indian culture

The Indian Students Organization, in partnership with INTO Marshall University, will host Holi and India Day Thursday in front of the INTO Center.

Holi is marked with the celebration of colors, which originates from the Hindu faith. The celebration of colors will be held for students at two times, 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

INTO Student Engagement Coordinator Kenny Jones said the colors being thrown are similar to those used in color runs, so students should not be too worried about ruining their clothes if they participate.

Holi is traditionally a two-day festival held in India, with the first night consisting of a symbolic bonfire.

The word Holi is derived from the name Holika, around whom the festival of colors legend originates.

Sophomore Vinay Kumar Raj, who is involved with the Indian Student Organization, explained this legend centers on a demon being destroyed and people throwing said demon’s ashes onto themselves.

“The legends said Holika could not burn,” Raj said. “But she was destroyed and only the ashes remained. The throwing of these ashes is where the tradition of the festival comes from. It’s the idea of overcoming evil that people of our faith [Hindu] enjoy most about the festival.”

Jones said this idea of “destroying the past” and letting things go is what makes this festival so enjoyable for all people, despite their personal faith.

“I always like to plan Holi in the spring because the school year is almost over,” Jones said. “Holi is about ridding yourself of everything, both positive and negative, but people mostly focus on the negative. It gives students a chance to rid themselves of all negativity of the school year and prepare a clean slate for the year to come.”

Raj said this event gives the Indian students a chance to share their culture with others on campus.

“We want to show our culture and we want to show how we celebrate our faith,” Raj said. “We want everyone to experience the different festivals we have in India.”

Raj said he hopes students learn from the event because knowledge is valuable to American citizens.

“It will be fun and informative for everyone,” Raj said. “It will be knowledgeable for people in a country where knowledge is so important.”

Jones said this event typically takes place in India no matter what the weather is like, so the celebration of colors will still be held even if it is raining Thursday.

Jones said the India Day aspect of the event will include Henna tattoos, a chance for students to try on traditional clothing from India and traditional music. Depending on the weather, the event will take place 11 a.m. either outside or inside of the INTO Center.

Nancy Peyton can be contacted at [email protected]