Matt Muir | Staff Writer
Splashes of colored powder turned their appearance from plain to Pollockian under rainbow clouds of dust on Fountain Mall on Tuesday. The colorful chaos is part of the Indian Subcontinent Student Association’s (ISSA) celebration of Holi, also known as the Festival of Colors.
Holi is a traditional Hindu holiday originating from India that signifies the arrival of spring. It is sometimes also referred to as the festival of love as people come together and put their grudges aside. Holi is celebrated for a night and a day, beginning the night of the full moon in the Hindu month of Phalguna, which is roughly equivalent to March.
Baylor ISSA seeks to promote understanding of Indian culture, and hosts their Holi event every year to celebrate Indian culture and boost their exposure. ISSA’s president Farhin Ali, a senior supply-chain management major, says ISSA offers a way for Indian students to feel more connected to their roots.
“When you’re going to school you tend to forget about your culture and things like that,” Ali said. “You’re away from Indian food, you’re away from your family, you’re away from all these traditions just because you don’t have people to celebrate them with. We want to remind people that there’s still a place where you can celebrate them all.”
Seher Shariff, a sophomore medical humanities and pre-med student and ISSA’s social chair explained that ISSA uses their Holi event to try to bring all segments of the Baylor community together.
“It’s a really good way for us to meet people–not just meet people of our own skin color,” Shariff said. “There’s so many people from diverse racial backgrounds that are at this event. I just think it’s so cool that we’re able to show who we are and showcase a little bit of what it means to be a part of the Indian, Pakistani and all that kind of community.”
This year’s event featured live performances from a singer and violinist, and a few short promotions for ISSA-sponsored events like “Gateway to India” before the powder festivities began. Maham Shah, a psychology and pre-law sophomore and ISSA social chair, characterized the celebration.
“We’re going to be able to run around, throw powder on each other, we have water balloons,” Shah said. “It’s like a color run without the running.
Some students in attendance were unfamiliar with the holiday outside of ISSA’s event. Rachel Sulaski and Sunny Rajendran, both sophomores, knew very little about Holi.
“I don’t know that much, I know it’s a celebration of color,” Sulaski said.
“It’s the start of something and I don’t know what,” added Rajendran. “It’s a festival of color… that’s all I’ve got.
While not very familiar with the holiday, Rajendran noted the importance of ISSA’s Holi celebration at Baylor.
“Holi is a huge Indian holiday so [ISSA] brought it to campus and it’s super fun,” Rajendran said. “The Indian population is not really big at Baylor, but it’s a huge culture. Coming to college you want to experience all the cultures of the world and this is a great opportunity.”