North Texas Daily

Hindu YUVA, UPC welcome spring season through organization’s 1st Holi event

Hindu YUVA, UPC welcome spring season through organization’s 1st Holi event

Hindu YUVA, UPC welcome spring season through organization’s 1st Holi event
March 30
15:00 2023

Brightly colored powder clouds filled the air last Thursday evening as people gathered on the South lawn of the University Union. For two hours, the crowd of students danced to upbeat music playing over a speaker, laughing and dousing each other with water and colored powder in celebration of Holi.

“It’s about bringing all people together and celebrating,” said Karan Kakroo, university graduate student and Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues and Action member. “It’s a joy when everyone comes together and celebrates as a family.”

The university’s chapter of Hindu YUVA, which was established last fall, hosted their first Holi event on March 23. Holi is known as the Hindu festival of colors and is a popular celebration in India. The holiday has several meanings, including the celebration of a new harvest season and the victory of good over evil. 

Holi usually takes place in late February or early March, based on the Hindu calendar. This year, the official Holi date fell on Wednesday, March 8. Hindu YUVA’s Holi celebration was originally scheduled for that day, but was later postponed to March 23 due to severe weather.

“We were worried because of the weather, but we were prepared because of our [Hindu YUVA] team members,” Kakroo said. “The university, as well, has been very supportive, so postponing the event was okay.”

The Holi celebration was held in collaboration with Hindu YUVA and the University Program Council. This was Hindu YUVA’s first time to collaborate with UPC to put on a large event.

Nichole Chune, art education sophomore and UPC member, said different groups often come to UPC to help put on cultural events — such as the Holi celebration — because UPC has the materials and funding to put on larger, more widespread events than a smaller group would be able to. 

Even though Holi has a religious background and is celebrated mostly by people of the Hindu religion, the event was open to all students as a way to welcome spring.

Psychology sophomore Robin Asbell was invited to the festival by a friend. She and her friend group met new people and participated in the celebration for the entire two hours.

“I wanted to come to the festival mainly because it’s fun, but also because I wanted to learn about different cultures,” Asbell said. “I think by participating in the event, you learn more and you get to see how people celebrate different holidays.”

English junior Asha Thackran, elementary education junior Lily Savage and hospitality management sophomore Layla Poche attended the celebration because they wanted to experience a cultural event.

“[Thackran and I] both have family who live in India and are from India, so it’s kinda like being part of that culture again because we don’t have a lot of exposure to that in the states, especially in Texas,” Savage said. 

The friends said they thought they missed the event on its original date, but were happy to find out the celebration had been postponed so they were able to attend. They also said they were impressed with the event’s turnout.

“What I like about this event, especially because it’s my own culture, is seeing non-Indian people participate and get involved in peoples’ cultures,” Thackran said. 

For almost the entire duration of the event, a line extended the length of the sidewalk leading to the Union’s south entrance. There, UPC members handed out powder and water guns used for spraying water. The water guns were not the only method participants had to soak each other, buckets of water were also being thrown. 

UPC staff member and assistant director Andrea Marquez said she estimated 500-700 students attended the celebration.

“We had 500 cups to distribute powder in, and we ran out of those,” Marquez said. “We gave away colored powder for at least an hour and a half, and that was cups and cups and cups of it.”

By the end of the event, nearly everyone was covered in water and powder, including participants, volunteers, photographers and reporters. Once the music ended, people yelled out “Happy Holi” to each other and posed for selfies and photos in their brightly colored state.

Featured Image Students throw colored powder on each other in celebration of Holi on the Union’s south
lawn on March 23, 2023. Hannah Sutherland

A UNT student receives a water soaker from members of UNT's University Program Council before the Holi celebration on the Union's south lawn in on March 23, 2023. Hannah Sutherland

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Kaitlynn Hutchins

Kaitlynn Hutchins

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