In honor of Holi, also known as the festival of colors, participants threw over 300 pounds of paint and 5,000 water balloons in Old Dickinson Community on Sunday.
The seventh annual celebration, hosted by the Hindu Student Council (HSC) and Delta Epsilon Psi, a South Asian social and service fraternity, Holi is a Hindu holiday in which people throw colored powder and paint to honor the start of spring.
Holi, or Holika, is rooted in the Hindu legend of Hiranyakashipu, a demon king who believed himself to be superior to all gods. According to the legend, Hiranyakashipu’s son Prahlada was a follower of Vishnu, the preserver of the universe. Prahlada’s beliefs led to his father conspiring with his aunt Holika, a demon, to kill him. Holika was to take Prahlada into her lap and sit inside the bonfire, something only she would survive because of her enchanted shawl. However, Prahlada was saved by Vishnu, and it was Holika and Hiranyakashipu who died. Thus, good triumphed over evil.
The famous tradition of throwing colored powder comes from the love story between the Hindu god Krishna and goddess Radha. Krishna, who is often depicted with a blue complexion, was unsure if the fair-skinned Radha would ever love him. His mother suggested he approach Radha and color her face with paint. With this, Krishna and Radha fell in love, and smearing friends, family and love interests with color on Holi became a tradition.
Holika’s death is often reenacted by lighting a bonfire the day before Holi, known as Holika Dahan. Some Hindus smear the ashes on their bodies as an act of purification.
In addition to throwing paint, attendees also danced to music, drank mango lassies and ate vegetable samosas. Because the event has had high attendance in previous years, the celebration was capped at 500 participants, all of whom were charged $5 for tickets. All proceeds were donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Rohith Reddy, the president of the HSC and Delta Epsilon Psi and a junior majoring in computer science, said the event is fun for everyone, regardless of their religious beliefs.
“I’ve been coming here since before I was a student and I always have a blast,” Reddy said. “It’s a Hindu holiday but everyone has fun. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t have fun at Holi.”
Nusrat Hossain, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, has also been attending Holi since before she became a student at BU.
“I come every year because it’s so much fun and you meet all these cool people,” Hossain said.
Natalie Lista, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience, said she was less experienced with Holi, but still enjoyed the event.
“A friend invited me and she didn’t tell me what it was at all, but I’m having a great time,” Lista said. “I think it’s such a cool concept, it’s like making art in the air and on people’s bodies.”