March 9 began bright and vibrant at Arcadia University. It was the nicest day all semester. Students conversed and laid out around campus with the Green acting as an enormous tanning bed. I started my day in my Hinduism class, where I was reminded of the Holi Festival, which would be taking place on the Green at 1:30.
Holi is an Indian holiday celebrating the arrival of spring with the vibrant colors of the season to come. I was told to wear white.
My professor, Frankie Mallis, really sold the event, as she told us about how much fun the festival brings. She also noted that she is normally pelted the most with color by the end, considering she is the host and the professor of the Hinduism course. Every year, the event gains popularity as more people come to experience a new cultural holiday. I have to say I was definitely intrigued going into it.
After the food arrived, a wave of students stepped onto the Green with a cup full of colored cornstarch in their hand. After Frankie made her announcement and commenced Indian music, the party kicked off in full swing. Students flailed and flung the color onto one another.
In class, covered in paint.
Trails of green and pink smoke covered the air around campus and screams of laughter ensued. There was not a shred of negativity to be found.
It was a moment of pure elation for all for those 20 or so minutes. My troubles of midterms and projects faded away. It’s difficult to take yourself too seriously when hurling color around and covering your closest friends with it. It’s also impossible to not crack a smile when a loved one lobs a giant cluster of orange smoke toward you.
I spent the rest of the day wandering around campus and going to classes looking like the Pink Floyd Laser Spectacular. I felt like a kid who just rolled around in mud, now sitting in class waiting to clean myself off.
The colored cornstarch did wash off fairly easily. Rest assured, the whole festival from beginning to end felt like a simple joy that can be hard to come by.
Holi Festival was a deliriously exciting experience. I overheard conversations between friends, couples, and roommates just sharing their love and appreciation as they tossed color all over. I hope the tradition continues in the coming years and I can only imagine how much it will continue to grow.