Children played. Students laughed. Red, yellow, blue, pink and purple balloons and paper flowers waved in the breeze and covered the walkways of campus. Shades of pink, green, blue and orange dusted people’s hair as the colored powder was thrown into the air.
The office of International Affairs brought the festival of colors March 21 to Texas A&M University-San Antonio for the first time. People from all over campus gathered on the East Lawn of A&M-San Antonio to celebrate Holi.
Holi is an Indian celebration that marks the arrival of spring and the end of winter, according to holifestival.org. Many people take this festival a time to come together, meet new people, resolve old problems and have fun.
The festival featured a “color fight” in which participants threw colorful powder at each other.
At the start of the event, attendees stood in line to receive a free shirt, sunglasses, food and colored cornstarch. Upon receiving the dyed powder in paper cups, people were given instructions to be safe about throwing the colors and avoid getting any powder in the eyes or mouth.
Biology junior Veronica Jimenez said making a mess was the best part. Jimenez, wearing a blue T-shirt, jeans and pink dust in her hair, ran across the East Lawn with paper cups of green and yellow powder.
“There wasn’t really a competition for the color throwing, but I think it’s fun to hang out, make a mess and try to get some cool pictures,” Jimenez said.
Priyangana Risal, the international student coordinator, said the color fight can be used with dyed water in water balloons and water guns or the colored powder. She noted that the color fight isn’t a competition; it’s just a fun time to play with friends and family.
While at the festival students were served different types of food. These items include samosas, fried onion pakora and banana bread.
A samosa is a triangular fried or baked dish filled with vegetables such as potatoes, onions, peas or lentils. The fried onion pakora is made from onions and several spices.
Sociology sophomore Alex Gonzales said he lives for free food and good times.
“It was so good, I wish I could get more,” Gonzales said.
Gonzales came out to celebrate Holi unintentionally after seeing the festivities through the game room window.
“I heard the music and saw all this pink and green dust in the wind,” Gonzales said. “I had to stop and check it out.”
Psychology senior Sage Rylind has been to 13 U.S. states along with the countries and territories England, Germany, Okinawa, Canada, Mexico, Wales, Austria, Switzerland, France, Dover and Belgium. Rylind shares her love for what she’s learned from visiting many places and attended the celebration out of appreciation for the culture.
“It’s a super fun and great way to mingle and get to know other people,” Rylind said.
Risal said the festival brings people together.
“We want to go ahead and spread out diversity, and we want our domestic students to know there are festivals like this,” Risal said. “You don’t have to be from that country to celebrate it.”
The office of international affairs plans on celebrating Holi again next year after having a turnout of approximately 250 people, Risal said. She and other staff members want the event to be bigger and better next year. They hope to bring a caterer to sponsor the event and even a DJ.
For more information on Holi festivals, visit www.holifestival.org/holi-festival.html.