Upbeat music booms from the DJ booth as colorful powder flies through the air at the annual Holi event hosted by the Hindu Students Association (HSA) on Saturday, April 9. Holi is a world-wide Hindu festival celebrated each year where people gather and dance, enjoy good food and—most importantly—throw colorful powder at one another.
More than 3,000 Holi revelers—Longhorns and community members combined—gathered at the LBJ lawn to celebrate the start of spring. Holi is celebrated on the the last full-moon day of the lunar month. The event’s signature tradition, the throwing of colorful powder, symbolizes new beginnings and has roots in the love story of Radha and Krishna. On campus, it’s a time for students of all backgrounds to come together and celebrate Hindu culture at a fun-filled event.
“We get people of all different walks of life,”said HSA President Neha Irrinki, who is a senior majoring in marketing. You don’t have to be South Asian or Hindu to come to our events, so it’s really great to see all the different people that come out and get covered in color.”
Featured below are some snapshots from the event.
HSA members hand out blue, yellow, green and red colored powder known as rang to the attendees. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, HSA members were excited to celebrate Holi again on campus, which is their largest, most highly anticipated event.
“It was nice to see all of our work pay off,” said Holi Co-Chair Vaibhav Gaddam, who is a junior majoring in management informaiton systems and philosophy. “There are definitely obstacles that always happen with an event of this size, but I think it was fun.”
Groups of friends run and dance while decorating each other with an array of colors. The event is also known as the Festival of Colors, and everyone is encouraged to throw the powder freely at one another.
Midway through the festival, HSA members called for everyone to grab a cup of rang and hold on to it for a few moments. The crowd was instructed to throw the powder in the air when the beat dropped. Everyone rushed to grab rang and meet their friends before color rained down from the sky.
“My favorite part of the event was the rang toss where everyone had their color powder and just threw it up in the air,” said Holi Co-Chair Nidhi Damu, who is a junior majoring in aerospace engineering.
Decorations on the lawn included several educational posters explaining the origin and purpose of Holi as well as a selfie station. Many people gathered to take photos with their rainbow-stained T-shirts and powder-covered faces.
“It’s a great energy to be out there, and I was super happy to experience this before graduating from UT,” Irrinki said
More about the HSA
One of many student organizations sponsored by the DDCE, the Hindu Students Association (HSA) brings Hindu culture and traditions to college campuses and develops awareness of Hinduism within communities throughout the country. Every year, HSA hosts several free events that are open to the entire university and the surrounding Austin communities. In addition to these events, there are weekly meetings to further explore what it means to be a Hindu while navigating college life. Visit the HSA website for more information.