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Festival of Colors

Holi

There was once an egoistic, demon king named Hiranyakashyapu who won over the kingdom of the earth and commanded everyone in his kingdom to worship only him. However, his own son Prahlad was an ardent devotee of Lord Vishnu and refused to worship his father. Thus an angry Hiranyakashyapu tried several ways to kill his son; his futile attempts eventually led him to ask his equally evil sister, Holika, to enter a blazing fire with Prahlad in her lap. Since Holika had a boon that she could enter the fire unscathed, Hiranyakashyapu plotted that Prahlad would burn and die while Holika would survive. When the time came for the fire, Prahlad’s faith did not falter and he bravely entered the fire with all his trust placed in God. Of course, God intervened and essentially reversed the boon, reducing Holika to ashes yet protecting Prahlad, blessing him for his extreme devotion.

This legend is the mythological story behind Holi, a Hindu springtime festival celebrating the victory of good over evil and the triumph of a true devotee of God. On Sunday, April 6th at 1 pm, the Georgetown Hindu Students Association led annual Holi celebration on Copley Lawn, inviting the entire Georgetown community to rejoice the arrival of spring. After a short prayer service, the festival of colors began as Hoyas belonging to different or no religious backgrounds came together, playfully throwing colorful powder on friends and strangers alike. The air was a mix of deep red and bright yellow, amity and liveliness, and shrieks and laughter.

IMG_1960On an external level, Holi gives us a sense of belonging through friendship and community. It signifies new life, new growth, and new beginnings, serving as a vibrant reminder to color our life with love, faith, and a generous spirit. On a deeper level, Holi gives us the experience of being much more than this body, which is a basic tenet of Hinduism. As college students, we spend a lot of time and money trying to look good, and probably an equal amount of thought on how others look compared to us. But on Sunday, when were all covered in the same bright-colored powder, we experienced freedom from those thoughts and worries. We were reminded of the truly important and meaningful part of ourselves and even felt a sense of unity amidst the diversity. We broke normal boundaries to join together in a simple celebration of all we have in common—religion, life, and love.

Niki Khandheria (new window), NHS ‘17

 

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