Holi: Festival of colors, love, and spring

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"The Holi Festival was celebrated globally on March 25, 2024, because every time spring commences, the fields bloom with lushness and it also marks the end of winter." - Photo via Rianna Moses

The celebration of Holi arrived at Rowan University’s Bunce Green, where various students and community members came together to celebrate the festival. Rowan’s South Asian Student Association (SASA) and Rowan’s Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues and Action (YUVA), co-sponsored this cultural event. 

The event took place from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and had music and food for all who attended to enjoy. To commence the event, one of the hosts shared a story about Holi, and why it is being celebrated. Along with rules about staying within the boundaries of Bunce Green, attendees with the do not throw color at the sign, were allowed to opt-out from participating in powder throwing. 

The two organizations also worked with the Rowan SJICR who have been hosting this event for the last few years. Dominique Pierson, the manager for the office of SJICR, spoke on why the office decided to be a part of this celebration.

“I know the Holi festival has always been a part of the work of our office and many student organizations have been celebrating it, including our South Asian Student Association,” Pierson said. “Our goal is to raise awareness about Holi, what it is, and how it’s celebrated and to get other community members out to celebrate it with us.” 

This year the office also worked with a new organization, Hindu YUVA, whose mission is to bring together Hindu students and people interested in Hindu culture to pray, serve the community, and network. This newly established organization has been hosting different events that celebrate Hindu holidays. 

The Holi Festival was celebrated globally on March 25, 2024, because every time spring commences, the fields bloom with lushness and it also marks the end of winter. It honors the triumph of good over evil. The colorful powder known as “gulal” is thrown at everyone who celebrates the festival, so it does get very messy. However, that is why this is known as the festival of colors, it honors love and is a day for that, joy and community. 

The Rowan SASA president, Mohini Gulati, stated that this event was smaller at first, but with the involvement of SJICR and learning how to work with them, it gained more outreach. 

“Now I think it’s a lot bigger, especially because COVID is officially over. There’s a bigger demographic, and fortunately, Dom and the DEI department really helped us in terms of how to bring the event on.” Gulati said. “Whether that was marketing, buying the supplies, the colors, promoting into their newsletters, or even the promos to eventually come was a big help.” 

Reaching out to the Hindu YUVA, they were able to obtain the more religious aspect of Holi and incorporate that into their event, which led to making the opening statement about a story of Holi. 

Dozens of attendees showed up to throw color around, even people who were just there to support friends or learn more about the Hindu culture were able to gather around. The DJ, who provided live music, gave time for dancing as well during the Holi celebration. 

Rowan SJICR continues to uplift marginalized communities by promoting these events on their social media, allowing for organizations, like SASA to have successful outcomes of their festivities. However, the dedication of Rowan students to run large events like these is also worth mentioning, as they continue to make welcoming spaces on campus. 

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