Hindu cultural celebration marks start of spring

Published: May. 5, 2019 at 6:37 PM EDT
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Students at the University of Vermont marked the beginning of spring by celebrating in traditional Hindu fashion Sunday.

Members of the Indian Students Association hosted the 14th Annual Holi celebration at the Redstone Green on campus. The word Holi means "festival of the colors." It is a celebration of life and happiness.

During the event, people douse themselves and others in a colorful substance as an expression of love and positivity. It also symbolizes the triumph of good over evil.

"Growing up, what we were told is, according to mythological stories, the evil king got killed and then people celebrated the next day and that is what the celebration looked like," said Jaspreet Nagi, president of the Indian Students Association.

This was the first time in 14 years that the celebration was held on campus. Nagi says the goal was to introduce more people to their customs and traditions.

"It feels amazing to bring it on campus, and you see people from other communities coming up and sharing the space with you and enjoying with us, that's the best feeling," he said.

The organization's vice president, Aayudh Das, said the event is about inclusion and diversity. He encourages everyone to attend next year's festival.

"Everyone should come to our culture and see what traditions we have brought to UVM. Everyone can be a part of it," Das said. "UVM community and Burlington community should come and celebrate with us. That's our ultimate dream."

The festival also offered Indian food, music, live entertainment and a color event where participants threw colorful cornstarch on themselves and others. Das told WCAX that they chose cornstarch because it is eco-friendly.

The Indian Students Association teamed up with UVM Jazbaa, the University's first Bollywood dance club, to host the event.