Two students ride above the crowd during the Holi celebration at Stafford Commons on Saturday, March 4, 2023. Also known as the Festival of Colors, this Hindu tradition welcomes the coming of spring and is characterized by tossing colored powder on participants.

NC State’s South Asian Student Association EKTAA, Maitri and the Office of Global Engagement hosted Holi, a colorful Hindu festival, at Stafford Commons on Saturday, March 4. The event, which celebrated the arrival of spring and the triumph of good over evil, lasted four hours and saw 700 attendees from around the Triangle.

Holi is a two-day festival starting on the evening of the Purnima, or full moon day, during Phalguna, the 12th month on the Hindu calendar. The festival is celebrated throughout India as colored powder is thrown in the air or smeared on someone.

Each color has a different meaning — green, for example, represents nature and new beginnings, while blue symbolizes serenity and Hindu deity Lord Krishna’s skin color. 

The origin of Holi varies; however, one of the many Hindu mythologies for Holi is about the divine love of Radha and Krishna and the victory of Lord Narasimha over Hiranyakashipu, also known as good over evil. 

Although there are many different interpretations in meaning, Holi is celebrated the same. In India, Holi is a national holiday where people get the day off to celebrate with their families. Sweets also make an appearance on Holi. 

“I have vivid memories of my mom making really good, sweet recipes,” said Bhuvana Chimmiri, co-vice president of EKTAA. “We’ll have a good meal for lunch and dinner. The whole day is like another festival.”  

Holi is one of EKTAA’s biggest events, and the organization understands the importance of celebrating to connect with the South Asian community at NC State. 

“This may be the first time that people are away from their family,” said Abhishek Singh, a third-year studying molecular biology and statistics and the co-president of EKTAA. “By putting on this event, we hope to create some sense of nostalgia and community for these people.”∂

It seemed like EKTAA accomplished their goals and missions, as some attendees felt the same. 

Surabhi Metpally, a first-year studying business administration, said she enjoys celebrating Holi because she gets to be with friends and it brings her back to nostalgic moments.  

“I feel like my inner child is back when I’m playing with colors and dancing,” Metpally said. “It’s pretty much the same — I’m so glad NC State is making me feel like [I’m] home.”

Medha Sai Vadlamaani, a first-year studying business administration, said Holi is a festival that’s easy to enjoy and have fun with.. She was, in fact, splashed and smeared with various colors. 

For others like Singh, Holi is an opportunity to connect even with strangers.

“Even if you’ve never met the person, you still put colors on them,” Singh said. “It’s a festival that’s very near and dear to us. It’s one way that we can represent our culture here away from our home country.” 

This year, Holi will be celebrated from the evening of Tuesday, March 7 to Wednesday, March 8. 

Stay connected with EKTAA on Instagram and Facebook.

Stay up to date with Maitri on Instagram and Facebook.

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