The second annual Holi Festival was hosted by the South Asian Student Association (SASA) at Lot 60 this past Saturday from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. According to the organization’s flyer, “It’s a way to recognize the end of a cold and harsh winter with a brighter and sunnier season.”
SASA, a Class I organization of the Student Government Association (SGA), co-arranged the event with the Japan Club and Unified Asian American Student Organization (UAASO) along with performances from Pace University students.
“[The Holi Festival] gets celebrated all over South Asia,” said SASA President Maithili Patel. “If you’ve been a part of the Red Hawk color run, you’ll get an idea. We throw colored powder. It’s a whole party.”
The 20-year-old sophomore also described the history of the event, saying that there is a bit of mythology involved.
“There was this demoness called Holika who was defeated so it also symbolizes good over evil, positivity and things like that, so we’re trying to bring that whole experience to campus,” Patel said.
Patel, who grew up in Dubai and moved to America three years ago, celebrates Holi every year. She mentioned that it is a citywide event with people carrying water guns and pools filled with colors and water. It is also an occasion to make new friendships.
To start the event, “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung, after which Pace students danced to Bali music. Students were then given plain white T-shirts to wear and colored powder to toss in the air while dancing to Bali and American music. Raffle prizes, food and drinks were also distributed at the event.
Japan Club Treasurer William Collins and Secretary Nana-Yaa Bawuah came out this year to recelebrate Holi.
“I really liked it last year. It’s something I just generally enjoy,” Bawuah said. “I like the idea of getting to express ourselves with all these bright colors.”
Collins agreed that the celebration is “really cool.”
“Because it’s something done in South Asian cultures and we’re not South Asian, it’s interesting to have an aspect of somebody else’s culture and participate in it,” Collins said.
The dancers from Pace were contacted by SASA and asked to perform a dance number for the event. This is the first time the dancers have participated in a Montclair State event.
“Holi is actually played with a lot of joy,” said sophomore Manushi Patel, a Pace dance member. “We pray for God to bless us with health and wealth. But mainly I like to enjoy it with friends.”
Ashley Getchell, the president of Japan Club, chose to cosponsor this event in April with SASA to celebrate Asian/Pacific Islander Heritage month.
“All the Asian organizations on campus get together. We co-sponsor and we hold a lot of events,” Getchell said. “It’s always a lot of fun because we all feel like a family. We all get together and have fun. We’re very close.”
Getchell thought the event had a successful turnout. It was a fun way to end the semester and see her friends in the nice weather.