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Colorful culture attracts students

Andrea Sotosainz, senior anthropology and Spanish major, and Aksheta Verma, sophomore athletic training major, design henna tattoos at the Holi Festival of Color event on March 29 in Sneaky Park. The festival was planned by the Indian Culture Association and CAB to raise awareness of Indian culture and celebrate the beginning of spring. / photo by Brittney Slater-Shew

Danielle Navarro
Staff Writer

Indian culture and the arrival of spring were celebrated at the “Holi Festival of Color” event.

The event took place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 29 in Sneaky Park, and was the result of a collaboration between sophomore Indian Culture Association president Aksheta Verma and junior Campus Activities Board multicultural chair Ashley Cole.

“I like how everything came together,” Cole said. “It’s very colorful and it’s exactly what we were going for.”

The actual Holi Festival, also known as “Festival of Colors,” takes place every year in India. It can last for up to two weeks, but the main day, Holi, is celebrated by throwing handfuls of colored powder at others.

“We really wanted to do that, but because of liability issues, we couldn’t,” Verma said. “It’d be a big mess to clean up.”

The Holi Festival is a cheerful event where people cast differences in social castes aside and come together to celebrate.

It is a celebration of the beginning of spring and a commemoration of many religious legends and myths. Another one of its main goals is to create peace and unity between many different kinds of people, and to bond them together. As a result, the atmosphere brought about by the event is one full of fun and excitement.

It is this positive message that Cole and Verma hope students took away from the event.

CAB provided Indian food, music and paint so participants could decorate white shirts in any design they wanted.

Additionally, the Indian Culture Association provided free henna tattoos and information to educate students about their club, the Holi Festival, and other Indian customs.

“It’s nice to have people do something creative that is intermixed with diversity and multiculturalism,” said Briannah Chiapellone, a graduate student in the teaching credential program.

The Indian Culture Associa­tion was started last year by Verma, who was a freshman at the time.

“I wanted to join an Indian culture club, but there wasn’t one on campus,” Verma said. “So I decided to start my own.”

The club has since acquired almost 20 members, most of who are not of Indian descent.

“A lot of people in the club are actually not Indian, so it’s a good learning opportunity for them,” Verma said.

Similarly, students of all different ethnicities who were at the Holi Festival event were able to learn a bit about Indian culture while exercising their creativity at the same time.

The event attracted a large number of students, and all of them seemed to enjoy everything that was offered.

“I think it’s a really cool event,” Diego Villalobos, a junior biology major, said. “It’s good to integrate all different cultures into these events.”

“I like that we get to use the shirts to paint whatever we want,” Villalobos said. “It’s a neat thing to do to express creativity.”

The Indian music and food provided were also a hit with the students.

Both Villalobos and Chiapel­lone expressed great interest in the festival, and stated that CAB and the Indian Culture Association should make it an annual event on campus.

“I just hope that [the students] get an idea of what Holi is, and the whole concept behind it,” Cole said.

Danielle Navarro can be reached at danielle.navarro@laverne.edu.

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