By: Claudia Gesiotto
It was a perfectly sunny day with a slight breeze at Lake Claire. A multitude of people started to arrive, including children, college students and parents. Some wore blank white t-shirts in anticipation for the bags of paint that would end up plastered to them by the end of the day, while others bought T-shirts that were available for a $5 donation to Sangam, UCF’s Indian Student Association.
Holi, the Hindu Festival of Colors, is a famous holiday in India that marks the advent of spring.
The joyful celebrations traditionally include people throwing colored powder and water balloons at each other, as well as singing and dancing. This year, India celebrated Holi on Thursday, March 24.
At UCF, Sangam hosted their very own Holi celebration from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 3. The event was free to all UCF students and faculty. People from the community paid a small fee of $5 for paint bags, water balloons and food.
The festivities commenced with DJ Keshav Nelavai, a sophomore at UCF, playing catchy Bollywood songs with the occasional addition of E.D.M and pop music while the President of Sangam Chirag Bhandari gave instructions to form two lines facing each other.
“We try to have everyone clash in the middle so there is an explosion of color,” Bhandari said. “This way, it looks cool and you get a feel for what it is actually like in India.”
The walls of people rushed forward as a brilliant haze from all the colors rose up to the sky.
“Holi is a huge community thing. Neighbors, family and people from out of town all come together and have fun,” Bhandari said.
Since it became a registered student organization on campus in 1983, Sangham has been hosting the festival. Bandar said they do it ever year.
UCF junior Adrian Del Toro said he would definitely come next year.
“It has been a lot of fun throwing paint on each other and just acting like fools,” Del Toro said.
The color wars were temporarily halted for a lunch break. The rainbow colored line of people twisted around the Lake Claire pavilion. The Indian cuisine from Aashirwad included chicken biryani.
Caelin Linaja, one of the most vividly painted participants, said he enjoyed his first Holi celebration.
“The highlight of today was the connections I made,” Linaja said. “You can do things you normally wouldn’t do in a group like dance crazy and throw water on random strangers.”
The day concluded with water gun and water balloon fights. Despite water being squirted everywhere, the bodies and faces of many remained painted with the beautiful colors of Holi.