By: Jessica Garcia, Erin Spencer, and Raisa Tillis
AUSTIN, TX – Colorful dust flooded the air while thousands gathered throwing colored powder as friends and strangers alike celebrated and danced to music on the lawn outside of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum.
They were there to participate in Holi,a spiritual Hindu festival to welcome the coming of spring with vibrant colors honoring Lord Krishna, the supreme god worshiped across many traditions of Hinduism.
In Hinduism, Lord Krishna is the embodiment of divine joy and love that will destroy all of someone’s sin and pain. He was born to to establish the religion of love.
The tradition of throwing colored powder at Holi originates from the Hindu tale of Lord Krishna, who complained to his mother about the color of his dark skin. He believed it was unfair that he was so dark, so his mother then took color and put it on his and her face so they could look just a like.
Holi is now celebrated as a festival of unit symbolically eliminating the differences that can drive us apart.
The colored powder that is used during Holi is from the flowers of trees that blossomed during the spring time.
On March 29, UT’s Hindu Students Association threw the biggest Holi festival since they started the event at the university. This year, approximately 8,000 UT students and people around the Austin area attended Holi.
Senior UT student, Crystal Nunez, has attended the Holi festival for the past two years. She says that every year she experiences an atmosphere filled with good people, good music, and good vibes.
“Music, dancing, and color,” Nunez said.
“Why wouldn’t you want to come out?”
However, it takes more than just colored powder packets and music to showcase the annual Holi festival.
Holi Co-Chair Aparna Datta, says that they start planning the event a year in advance, because they needed a lot of time to get all the materials in order for the big day.
At Holi, everyone comes together to have fun as they celebrate the traditional festival in the Hindu culture.
Holi celebrator Anshumala Gupta says that Holi isn’t just a time to get together and have fun, but a time to wash off all the hatred.
“You are meant to forget all of the past and and actually hug people with a pure heart again,” said Gupta.
The Hindu Students Association, the organization behind the event, meets weekly to discuss the concepts a practices of their shared religion. Every week a different pair of officers lead a discussions based on Hinduism topics suggested by the members.
“No one is an expert, we can all learn from each other,” said Angirekula. “So I really enjoy that aspect of HSA, I feel like I learn a lot more from my peers around me oppose from the two people who did research.”