Splash of Color: Hindu association hosts event to commemorate spring arrival

Despite the rainy weather, explosions of color could be seen from the Hubbard Hall lawn Saturday morning. In celebration of Holi, the annual Hindu Festival of Colors, Wichita State students and community members commemorated the start of spring by throwing colored powders on themselves and each other. 

The Association of Hindu Students in America (AHINSA) — in collaboration with the Cultural Association of India, Student Engagement, Advocacy and Leadership (SEAL), and Housing and Residence Life — coordinated the event to increase Hindu representation.

“Our goal is to promote the Hindu culture at Wichita State and the surrounding areas and build awareness about our culture,” AHINSA President Hemil Mehul Shah said. “Events like this enable people to have fun while learning about the (Hindu) culture.”

Participants paid a $5 entry fee for colorful bags of powder and a variety of snacks and drinks. In Hindu culture, certain colors have symbolic meanings, like red representing love, passion and fertility. During Holi, the bright blues, reds, greens, purples, pinks and yellows signify the advent and many colors of spring.

“Holi is a colorful festival because we think that when spring comes, everything regenerates,” AHINSA Faculty Advisor Alan Dsouza said. “So the way we express it is by throwing colors on each other.”

For community members like Monalisa Chakraborty, having a Holi celebration on campus makes home feel a little bit closer.

“I haven’t been home for four years,” Chakraborty said. “So this is so exciting. In India, they go crazy (for Holi) … I’m glad we have something here, too.”

All students, regardless of race or ethnicity, interested in joining AHINSA or participating in AHINSA events next semester (like Bollywood Night and Garba Night) can learn more about the organization via ShockerSync.

“We pride ourselves in being a diverse group,” Shah said. “(We want to) let everyone know what (Hindu culture) is about and make everyone feel included.”