UPC brings Holi celebration to campus

Emma Tanner, Managing Editor

The University Program Council celebrated Holi Fest on Mar. 10. Students gathered on the Intramural Field with colored powder, snacks and cultural music. Holi was internationally celebrated on Mar. 8.

Holi, also called the Festival of Colors, is a significant festival in the Hindu religion and is celebrated throughout the world, but most prominently in India. Its purpose is to celebrate the joys of life and the coming of spring. In the religious context, it also serves to celebrate the divine love of the gods Radha and Krishna.

Mayank Vashisht is UPC’s Student Union Activities Planner. As an Indian student, Holi has a significant meaning to him. 

“[Holi] means that your life should be full of colors,” said Vashisht. “It shouldn’t be black and white. That’s why we play with colors, to make sure you have a wonderful life.”

Diversity and inclusion is important to the UPC, as they want all students to feel welcome on UNA’s campus.

“Our main goal in the UPC is to make sure we have diversity and inclusion,” Vashisht said. “Diversity and inclusion is only possible if we celebrate cultures and festivals all throughout the globe.”

UPC planned Holi months in advance. Holi has not been celebrated on campus in some years, according to Co-Curricular Activities Planner Dessa Faulkner. 

“We’re so excited about it because we just want to bring everyone together and not only celebrate the cultural excitement of it, but it brings everyone at UNA together,” said Faulkner. “[Holi] is one of my favorite things that I’ve heard about in a while. Mayank has told me so much about it and it’s been exciting.”

UNA’s celebration of Holi also makes Vashisht feel more at home. 

“Holi in India was Mar. 8, so I got a text from [Faulkner] in the morning that said ‘happy Holi,’” he said. “That made my day. You feel welcome. These festivals, including all festivals for international students, [make us feel] welcome on the campus. We don’t feel left out.”

It is not just Indian students that look forward to Holi. Vashisht recalls having a conversation with a German student who informed him that they play Holi, too. The student had not gotten a chance to celebrate in Germany, but the opportunity was available on campus.

“So many people celebrate and support [Holi], and that’s what’s really exciting about it, too,” Faulkner said. 

Holi had a large turnout. The festival began with an informational speech about the meaning of Holi, then popular Indian songs were played as the group played with the colorful powder. Faulkner and Vashisht had students approaching them with thanks for holding the festival on campus.

Priya Punia is visiting UNA for a graduation, but got the chance to celebrate Holi. The celebration marks the first one she has celebrated in the United States. 

“It’s very exciting to see the festival over here,” said Punia. “You can see students are celebrating with colorful paints and dancing to the songs they love. That’s what we do in India as well. People are very excited and supportive towards the international students.”