Holi: A Festival of Color

If you were anywhere around Sproul last Saturday, you probably noticed an abundance of paint-soaked patrons accompanied by clouds of colored dust. Or maybe, like me, you were part of the action. So what is the story behind this giant paint party?

Gathering for the colorful festivities on Lower Sproul.

The event is Holi, the Hindu festival of colors which celebrates the coming of the spring season. Though it originated in India, this tradition has spread considerably throughout the world. Here at UC Berkeley, the annual Holi festivities are put on by the Indian Student Association and attract students and local families alike from a variety of backgrounds. Patrons can purchase packets of colored powder beforehand and jump right in on the fun!

As the colors settle...

Lower Sproul was a crowded flurry of color, laughter, and music, and with this being my first Holi, I was initially a little hesitant. But upon throwing a fistful of color into my friend’s face, I dropped all hesitation. I learned soon enough that it was completely acceptable — and even encouraged! — to wish a complete stranger a happy Holi and lovingly slap some color onto his or her body. And the water hose added a whole new dimension to the fun (and also caused the colors to bleed into an interesting brown color)! We all could take a load off, let our guards down and simply enjoy the weather, the music, and the company. And I think that was the most moving aspect. We’re all students of different colors, creeds, and backgrounds, but on this one day, we’re all connected. Through all the smiling paint-tinted faces on Lower Sproul, I saw our diversity in the simplest and most beautiful of forms: a rainbow. I won’t ever forget the experience (and not only because my hands will be tinted red for a few days).

Images courtesy of Belkiz Quintanilla and Kohji Sugiota.

Hailey Simpson is currently a reporter for BARE Blog. A first year Media Studies major from SoCal. When not scrawling in her notebook or getting used to the widespread use of 'hella', she enjoys concerts, British and comedy TV, drinking tea, and exploring the Bay.

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