Festival of Color
| Students celebrate end of winter with Indian festival
| Val Vita guest writer |
If you have noticed some people walking around campus with different colors in their hair and on their skin, you can tell where they were on the afternoon of Saturday, April 19.
After endless days of cold, around 250 people gathered in the Gorilla Village to celebrate the beginning of spring (a few weeks later) in a festival with lots of color. Participants of Holi, the annual festival of colors, spent three hours throwing colored powders at each other and dancing to both American and Indian music.
It all started at noon, when DJ’s Darryl Chism and Jason Escobar played “Holi Re,” a song that means “the festival of colors has come.” From that moment on, nobody stayed clean.
“It’s the best Saturday I had in a long time,” said Lydia Swanson, junior in English.
Swanson’s usually blonde hair was temporarily dyed a bright array of colors.
“It’s pretty, I’ll leave it like this,” she said.
The colors and festival of Holi, brought to PSU by the 25 Indian students, are part of a tradition that occurs at the beginning of spring in their country. The festival represents the victory of good over evil.
“All Indians celebrate Holi irrespective of their religion,” said Kartik Keshre, graduate student in business administration. “We usually celebrate with our friends and families on streets.”
Keshre and other Indian students ordered the colored chalk from a supply manager in Dallas, who in turn orders it straight from India to sell all over the United States. Volunteers spent two days transferring the colors to 480 packets, which were distributed to participants at the event.
The colors – yellow, purple, green, orange and blue – are made of skin-friendly ingredients. For a few people, however, the color remains for a while even after washing.
Dennis Deckenbach, graduate student in business administration, who like Swanson also sports blond hair, had to go to class for a few days with purple hair.
“It was someone with a bag of purple powder with water,” Deckenbach said. “But it was fun. It’s a happy festival. As a hard-working graduate student, it was a perfect opportunity to feel alive again.”
Yulia Senkiv says she agrees the festival was all about fun, even after some people threw others in the University Lake (a friendly tradition of Holi festivals at Pitt State that has been happening for a few years).
“I was thrown three times in the lake,” Senkiv, assistant professor of Russian, said. “It was stinky, muddy and cold, but after all, I really enjoyed it. Holi was a totally new experience, very colorful and crazy.”
The craziness of the festival was what attracted Raul Pulgar, freshman in commercial arts, to attend it.
“I’ve seen it on the Internet and I’ve always wanted to come,” Pulgar said. “If these colors don’t go out until Monday when I need to go to school … well, I had fun.”
If fact, Pulgar was so unconcerned about his appearance that he and his friends went to Taco Bell afterward.
“Nobody said anything, but we told them not to worry, we were just ordering to go,” Pulgar said.
His sister, Efigenia, says she had so much fun at Holi that she will definitely go again next year. She will do only one thing differently, though.
“I’ll come with bad clothes,” Efigenia, an Intensive English Program student, said. “I’m never going to be able to use these ones again.”