Holi: Festival of Colors to bring students together, celebrate arrival of spring

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Courtesy of Sharan Shetty

A group of students who attended and celebrated Holi Festival in 2019 post together for a photo (Courtesy of Sharan Shetty)

By Madelaine Vikse, Lifestyle Editor

DeKALB – Holi: Festival of Colors is a Hindu festival popular in India that celebrates spring, good over evil and brings people together. 

The festival will take place on Saturday in Central Park, located between Stevenson and Grant, according to the NIU event page. It is free to attend and no RSVP is required. From 10:30 a.m. to 11 a.m., attendees can pick up their t-shirts and colors on a first-come, first-served basis. The event itself will begin at 11 a.m., said Michelle Bringas, director of the Asian American Resource Center.

Last year, the Holi Festival was celebrated over Microsoft Teams due to the pandemic.

The Holi Festival is a part of NIU’s Asian American Heritage Month: ‘Making the Invisible, Visible,’ Bringas said.

Sharan Shetty is a graduate teaching assistant, pursuing a master’s degree in management information systems and president of the Indian Student Association.

“I used to celebrate this with my family before, but right now you know celebrating it with my friends and also hundreds of students on campus would be great and memorable for me,” Shetty said.

The Asian American Resource Center, Indian Student Association, Residence Hall Association and Student Government Association have all collaborated to plan the festival this year, Bringas said.

“This is one of the biggest events NIU has ever witnessed, at least from the Indian Student Association,” Shetty said.

Holi is also known as the “festival of love” or “festival of colors” and is celebrated in the spring every year. It is a time for people to celebrate and to forget bad feelings, grudges or resentment people may have towards one another, according to the Society for the Confluence of Festivals in India.

Shetty said that they have been planning this event for almost two months and that the festival is about everyone on campus getting involved and showing up to celebrate.

Some of the foods attendees can expect are samosas, sandwiches and more. The food at the festival will be from Gurukrupa Indian Grocery & Copy Services, 1005 West Lincoln Highway. 

“(Those who attend) can definitely experience the Indian music, Indian snacks and also the culture and how we celebrate,” Shetty said.

Shetty said that around 200 people are expected to attend the Holi Festival. The next event for the Indian Student Association will be a farewell party for spring and summer graduates, but the venue has not been determined as of now.

“The Asian community and Indian community on campus is really strong,” Shetty said. “For me, (the) Indian Student Association is to spread awareness about the culture, you know, and also have great diversity and inclusion on campus.”