South Asian Student Association hosts first BYU Holi festival

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(Video by Kelsey Mae Nield)

Students laughed and cheered as pink, yellow and orange chalk flew in the air during the BYU South Asian Student Association’s first-ever campus Holi festival on March 26.

The event consisted of throwing dry, colorful powders in the air and learning Bollywood dances. The BYU EDM club provided the music and DJed the event. 

BYU junior Aarohi Bhatt, activity coordinator for the event, said the club tries to put on a large event each semester. Bhatt said Holi is a Hindu festival she participated in back home in India. It celebrates the victory of good over evil and Krishna, the god of love, tenderness and compassion. Holi is a way of celebrating Krishna’s victory of defeating a demon.

“The main goal we have is to have fun. Personally, it’s my favorite festival. You just play with colors, you put colors on other people. It’s colorful, it’s bright, it’s so fun to do that with your friends,” Bhatt said. 

While growing up, Bhatt did not understand the cultural importance of the festival. However, as she has gotten older she has learned to appreciate the Holi festival and the importance it has to Hinduism. 

Bhatt said she hoped the festival also educates people about her culture. She wanted people to find appreciation for people of other backgrounds.

“What our club is trying to do is boost that diversity and inclusion across campus, especially with Holi. This is a major holiday that most people are aware of around the world, even in Utah,” club president Gabriel Abello said. “We wanted to bring that to BYU to be a part of our campus culture.”

Abello said the festival is to help create better global citizens and global community. He said the club wanted to do their part by giving people the ability to learn and experience Holi for themselves.

“I have very little experience with anything like this. It was super fun to see how colorful it is. They have a different culture, but it’s cool to be a part of that,” junior Mary Goss said. “The dances are unique, the colors are unique, the whole concept of this is unique and I really like learning about unique things.” 

Bhatt said most people know about Holi and that it’s a color festival, but that it’s important that people know a little bit about the background — not that it’s just the color festival, but that it has religious, cultural importance for people in South Asia.

“Don’t just know it as the color festival. Learn a little more about it,” Bhatt said. “That would show people that you appreciate it.”

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