Patrick Bernabela, above, braces as purple powder is thrown on him during Holi. ERIC SCHMID/THE STATESMAN
Patrick Bernabela, above, braces as purple powder is thrown on him during Holi. ERIC SCHMID/THE STATESMAN

Puffs of color floated into the blue sky on Sunday, April 16 as SBU Hindu Student Council celebrated Holi in the Mendelsohn Quad pit.

Holi is a Hindu holiday that celebrates the coming of spring and all of its life and color. During this festival, vibrantly colored powders, usually made of flour or cornstarch, are thrown everywhere in celebration. Blues, purples, yellows, oranges and greens fill the air and cover the ground, creating a tie-dye world.

“Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of ‘good’ over ‘bad’. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other ‘Happy Holi’,” according to Holifestival.org.

This year, Holi was celebrated on March 24. The Hindu Student Council planned the event on April 3 but was forced to reschedule due to weather. Regardless of timing, the celebration was filled with students pouring into Mendy pit.

“We knew this was a way to bring the campus community together, both Hindus and non-Hindus,” Nidhi Shah, president of the Hindu Student Council, said. “That was pretty much our main goal, to bring people from different backgrounds together and understand the purpose of Holi.”

Each student was given a cup of colored powder to use at their own discretion. The only rules: don’t leave the pit and don’t go inside the buildings. With that and a DJ playing anything from traditional music to Rihanna in the background, the chaos ensued. The colors flew, thrown on friends, enemies and strangers alike.

“Even though we didn’t know each other we were still all coming together and throwing it at random people we didn’t even know so it was really fun,” Sania Sabahat, freshman psych major, said.

This togetherness is part of the spirit of the holiday, which brings together masses of people of all different cultures to celebrate.

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“Each color represents something different. Just one cultural holiday can combine all the different cultures together,” Sahiba Kaur, a sophomore environmental studies and political science major, said.

As a part of the HSC’s tradition and mission statement, students were told to bring non-perishable or canned foods to the event for a chance at a free t-shirt. The food was collected for the campus food pantry.

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