By Hannah Urano
Handfuls of powdered paint could be seen flying through the air on the Thomson Hall lawn last Saturday afternoon, blanketing students in colorful pigment.
The smell of Indian food and Indian music were the background to students’ laughter at the inaugural Holi celebration at Ohio Wesleyan.
Members of SANGAM, Ohio Wesleyan’s South Asian cultural club, organized the traditional Hindu festival of colors.
According to junior Krina Patel, who has been involved in the club for two years, SANGAM mean “unity” or “meeting of cultures.” She said the meaning is fitting, as the club consists of people from various parts of South Asia.
Junior Azfar Wattoo said SANGAM’s goal is “essentially to make South Asian culture meet with the cultures of the rest of the world, by raising awareness and promoting South Asian cultural traditions on campus.”
According to Wattoo, Holi is a major Hindu holiday.
“It is really important to us, along with Eid and Diwali,” he said.
“It’s one of the three most important holidays in South Asia.”
Freshman Shashwat Rijal said Holi is a celebration of good over evil, and is “traditionally celebrated with a lot of colors and with some religious proceedings.”
“According to Hinduism, that was the day when a devil was killed by a god,” he said.
Patel said Holi is celebrated on the last full moon of the winter season as a way to usher in spring.
Wattoo, who is from Pakistan, said the Hindu communities celebrate Holi in their homes, at their temples and in other designated places.
“Even though Pakistan is predominantly (a) Muslim country, we still go over and celebrate this great occasion with our Hindu friends, in the same way as other South Asian communities,” he said. “It was nice to be able to do something at OWU.”
According to Wattoo, in most South Asian countries “people come out into the streets wearing white clothes and play with different colors, and water balloons, while loud music is being played in the background.” He said he hopes the OWU community gets to know and appreciate South Asian culture and traditions, as it is the international community on campus.
Patel said she hopes students gained more knowledge about this cultural tradition as well as enjoyed themselves at event, and that she was pleased with the turnout.
“It was exciting to see that there were more than 100 people there at one point,” she said. “The best part of the entire event was coming back to a Facebook newsfeed full of Holi pictures and seeing how much fun everyone had.”
Freshman Emma Drongowski said her favorite part of the celebration was “the delicious food, and how so many different people from around campus came to experience a new tradition.”
“It was such a perfect day to celebrate the beginning of spring because it was so nice outside, and I was so happy to see some campus administrators participating in the fun,” she said.