CLUB SPOTLIGHT

Festival of colors

THE HOLI CELEBRATION FEATURES students throwing colors and water at one another. (file photo)

The Indian Students Association put on a Holi celebration outside of Commons Dining Hall this past Saturday where students celebrated by throwing colors and spraying water on each other. This event was based on the Indian holiday of Holi, also known as the festival of colors. As a Hindu myself, I have celebrated Holi each year growing up with my family. Reminding me of home and bringing back fond memories, I thoroughly enjoyed the time I had.

The story of Holi is quite entertaining, involving an evil king, King Hiranyakashipu, who had one purpose in life: to have everyone worship him. However, his own son, Prahlada, to follow a different path. He wanted to worship Lord Vishnu, arguably the main god in Hinduism. King Hiranyakashipu didn’t appreciate that Prahlada didn’t respect him, and attempted to kill the child. After being unsuccessful multiple times, the king asked his evil sister, Holika, to help him. In an attempt to burn her nephew alive, Holika sat with Prahlada in a pit of fire, but Lord Vishnu was watching and saved the child. This left Holika to burn. In a rage, Lord Vishnu came down in the form of a half-human-half-lion creature, and clawed King Hiranyakashipu to death. Prahlada was made the new king, as he should have been. A recurring theme in Hinduism, the defeat of the king and his sister shows good winning over evil, which is celebrated as the festival of Holi.

With such an eventful backstory, Holi is celebrated with a blast throughout India and other South Asian countries. Bringing this festival to campus shows ISA’s dedication to providing a culturally diverse platform for the RPI student body. This gesture is very important because, while our school may be predominantly white, we still have a significant amount of different cultures that deserve to be celebrated.

Throughout the year, ISA puts on many events that are open to all students. In the fall, the club puts together a show about Diwali, which is known as the festival of lights. This celebration acknowledges the victory of Lord Ram as he defeats Ravan in an epic battle, once again showcasing the theme of good over evil. Additionally, the club sells traditional Indian food through their pani puri picnic and many samosa sales. In the spring, along with Holi, ISA has a formal open to all students, coming up on April 21. Check out this event if you’re looking for a fun night of dancing and good food! Lastly, the club has one general body meeting per semester, which is a great way to get involved with ISA.