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The Blue & Gray Press | August 24, 2019

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Campus explodes with a riot of color at Holi celebration

Holi Festival Jonathan Polson


Spring exploded at the University Mary Washington in a big way last week. The Holi festival, an Indian celebration to welcome in the season, wrapped up the Res Games. Sponsored by the International Living Community/Framar hall and the Association of Residence Halls, students came together on Ball Circle on Friday, April 5, to partake in the festivities.

In what might be a first at UMW, students arrived early for the event to line up for packets of colors to throw. According to one of the event coordinators, junior English major Upma Kapoor, around 700 packets of color were ordered for the event. Within 10 minutes of the start of the event, all the color packets ran out.

As students waited excitedly, Eagle Bhangra, an Indian-style dance team, treated them to a performance before the event. Friday was Bhangra’s last performance before the upcoming Multicultural Fair.

Following the performance, Kapoor counted down, and then the world exploded in colors.

Traditionally, the festival of Holi is celebrated by farmers in India as a way to observe the coming of spring. The celebration includes throwing a multitude of brightly colored chalk powders up in the air, or at fellow celebrators.

At UMW, the aim of the event is not only to welcome spring, but also to give students a fun and interesting way to observe and partake in the practices of different cultures.

“This may have been the most exciting part of my week,” said Ally Thames, a sophomore international relations major.

“I had a blast last year,” Thames said. “This might be one of my favorite events at UMW.”

Though colorful, the Holi festival is messy.

“Wear white or light clothes that you don’t mind getting rainbow-fied!” the Holi Facebook event page suggested. “This will be the most colorful you will feel all year!”

The scented chalk used in the celebration can stick in hair and on skin but will wash off. It will also permanently dye clothes.

“My hair will probably be purple for a week, but I don’t care,” said sophomore geography major Alice Redhead. “How often do you get to be messy like this? Savor it.”