Hurst celebrates Hindu Holi festival

Samantha Weber, Editor-in-chief

Holi, the Hindu festival, is being celebrated on March 18 this year. Holi is also known as the “Festival of Love,” the “Festival of Colors” and the “Festival of Spring”. Holi has been around since ancient times and represents a new beginning where people can have a fresh start and welcome the spring season. Holi is celebrated in almost all parts of India and is one of the most revered and celebrated festivals in the country.

The festival was originally known as “Holika” and has multiple ties to different religious works. One theory is that Holi existed several centuries before Christ, but has had many different meanings over the years. At one point, it was once a special rite performed by married women for the happiness and well-being of their families for the next year while worshiping the full moon. Red, green, blue and yellow powders are thrown around and each has its own meaning. The red powder represents love and fertility, green stands for new beginnings, blue powder represents the Hindu God Krishna and yellow is the color of turmeric, which is a natural remedy native to India.

Holi is not just celebrated in India, but it is also widely celebrated around the world. One of Mercyhurst’s MAC/ SAC programmers, sophomore Michael Abadie, is the student who proposed this event. “As a MAC/SAC programmer, cultural awareness is something I take very seriously. Cultural awareness, in my opinion, is the foundation of a society that is not just tolerant, but loving of one another,” said Abadie. “Over the many events that have taken place this semester, I find that I should be doing my part in providing a comfortable and educational environment for our students, faculty and staff.”

Abadie took his role as programmer seriously in planning the event for students. He conducted thorough research for how other colleges and universities celebrated Holi in a fun, inclusive, and respectful way. “I also reached out to Mercyhurst’s International Student Association and Dr. Thomas Forsthoefel—both who I deem quite knowledgeable about this cultural area—for advice on how to approach this event, as I had never experienced Holi firsthand,” said Abadie after being placed in charge of planning this event.

Abadie wanted to ensure that as many elements of Holi were included at the student event. “Traditional dishes were a rather obvious component to the event and one that I may be most excited about. Of course, more activities should be involved, so I have tried my best in incorporating Holi-themed activities with the help of these individuals,” he said. “I know it won’t be perfect and I know I have much to learn, but the mere exposure of some rendition of Holi to the student body may inspire some like Dr. Forsthoefel and Southern Asian culture have done for me.”

Music, decorations and activities for all attendees to participate in together will be at Mercyhurst’s celebration on March 19, at 7 p.m.