Holi is a Hindu spring festival celebrated in India and Nepal. It is also known as the “festival of colours” or the “festival of sharing love.” The celebrations last two days, but the date of the holiday varies because of the Hindu calendar. However, it usually lies in March and sometimes in February. The “festival of sharing love” got its name because people throw colors at each other, representing the love they are giving to one another.
This year, Stanford University hosted the annual Holi festival on on April 2-3 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Sandhill Fields. This particular Holi festival is one of the biggest celebrations of the Indian Spring Festival in the Bay Area; it is a unique cultural experience that brings together people who are and aren’t part of the Indian culture. With more than 500 pounds of colorful powders to throw, the event was a hit. People could buy tickets for about $10-$20 depending on their age.
An active student group at Stanford University runs the festival and the event is a completely volunteer driven organization, made up of dedicated individuals from Stanford University and Bay Area volunteers. The group’s main goal in hosting this particular Holi festival is to provide financial assistance to specific grassroots educational movements in India. This particular event is thus able to generate funds to support multiple education projects in India.
Although the holiday originated in India and Nepal, people celebrate the festival throughout the world. In recent years, Holi festivals have taken place across North America and Europe.
Traditionally, the celebration begins on the night before Holi with a bonfire. At this bonfire, people perform religious rituals and pray for their internal evils be destroyed. The colorful celebration begins the following day as people throw colorful dry powder and shoot colored water at each other.
In India and Nepal, people celebrate the holiday everywhere in town, including streets, parks, buildings, and temples. There are no rules about whom you can target; everybody is fair game on Holi.
In the evening, people meet with their families to have a pleasant dinner with a variety of food. There is no specific food that is eaten, rather hundreds of traditional meals that can be made throughout the day. At the Stanford festival, people could buy a variety of traditional foods.
As you enter the field, people immediately greet you with colorful powder. Everybody throws the powder at anybody they can. This continues throughout the festival.
The Holi festival is a great experience for people of all ages, races and genders. Everybody is welcome to participate and enjoy the experience.
Click here to watch videos of the event.