Holi Moly! ​​Hindu Festival of Colors paints Mavericks

Shortly after the snow subsided, it started raining rainbows.

Minnesota State students were sprinkled with powdered colors instead of snowflakes Saturday in commemoration of Holi, the Festival of Colors. 

“I wanted to create an inclusive and festive environment where students from diverse backgrounds could come together to celebrate and learn about this beautiful festival,” NeStCom President Rochak Dahal said. 

This annual Hindu tradition — popular in India and Nepal — typically falls in March and signifies an end to winter and a colorful welcome to spring, honoring love, unity and the triumph of good over evil. 

“It is also a time for people to forgive and forget past grievances, repair broken relationships and celebrate the joy of life,” Dahal said.

The MSU RSO Nepalese Student Community or NeStCom combined forces with the International Student Association and Bangladesh Student Association for the jamboree. The team as a whole coordinated with the university to secure a spot on the Performance Arts Lawn. 

From 12-5 p.m., MSU students tossed neon-colored powders, listened and danced to traditional music, enjoyed cuisine and got free Henna tattoos. 

While bringing the celebration of Holi to MSU may differ environmentally, “the spirit of the festival remains the same: a time for joy, togetherness and celebration,” Dahal said.

The event’s purpose along with its cultural roots was to stress the importance of unity and appreciation for diversity at MSU.

Volunteers extended a hand for Holi by assisting with setup and cleanup, honoring the end of March as National Volunteer Month. 

Originally from Nepal, Dahal is finishing his sophomore year at MSU while balancing his presidency with a computer information technology major and international business minor. 

“I decided to bring the Holi Festival to MSU to share the rich cultural tradition of Holi with the university community,” Dahal said.

Dahal said he has worked closely on this event with student members, which was postponed for a week due to weather the opposite of a spring bloom. He hoped the event would bring the MSU community together, “regardless of their background or cultural heritage, to celebrate a shared experience,” he said. 

Generating student interest through social media and campus announcements, the international organizations made an effort to unite students across MSU’s campus regardless of familiarity with Holi’s traditions. 

Dahal aims for this event as a whole to spread a message of, “inclusivity, unity and cultural appreciation to the broader university community, ” he said.

The event to celebrate spring will honor more than a simple hello to warmer weather, but rather embrace the different cultures and practices of international students.

“I hope it (Holi) will foster dialogue and understanding among students from different backgrounds and help to create a more welcoming and inclusive campus environment,” Dahal said.

Write to Mercedes Kauphusman at mercedes.kauphusman@mnsu.edu

Header Photo: Students at Minnesota State celebrated Holi, the Festival of Colors Saturday in the Performance Arts Lawn. This Hindu tradition signifies a unified welcome to spring, and is usually commemorated by tossing powdered colors. (Davis Jensen/The Reporter)

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